The federal Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has released the latest Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace enrollment data from Nov 1, 2016 to Dec 31, 2016. As conversations about what the next phase of health reform looks like, we continue to promote and encourage Texans to enroll in the marketplace plans.
Here are the highlights from the latest DHHS report:
Nationally, 8.8 million people have selected plans through the healthcare.gov platform or had their coverage automatically renewed, including 2.2 million new consumers and 6.6 million renewing their coverage. Additionally, the federal agency reported that December 15 (the original deadline for obtaining January 1 coverage) was the biggest day with 670,000 enrollments. DHHS later extended the enrollment deadline for January 1 coverage to December 19 to enable more people to enroll.
The new numbers show 1,119,994 Texans have enrolled in ACA marketplace plans during the first two months of the current open enrollment period. Among the states with federally-facilitated marketplaces, Texas has the second largest number of ACA enrollees, behind Florida with 1,641,714. Based on the enrollment data reported by DHHS, Houston had the largest number of ACA enrollees (327,109), followed by Dallas-Fort Worth (316,713), Austin (107,502) and San Antonio (101,346).
Based on a recently-released study commissioned by EHF, the economic burden of health disparities in the state costs Texans $4.3 billion in medical care spending and lost productivity. This is partly due to the fact that Texas has the highest uninsured rate and the most uninsured residents in the country – with one third of Hispanics and 14% of Blacks uninsured. We also know that, according to DHHS, eight in 10 consumers in Texas, will be able to afford ACA health insurance plans for $75 or less a month after federal financial assistance is applied.
It is important to keep in mind that the last day to enroll in an ACA marketplace plan is January 31, 2017. With the deadline less than four weeks away, there is much we can do collectively to ensure more Texans sign up for the ACA marketplace plans. For information about insurers and premium rates in the ACA marketplace, please visit www.healthcare.gov. In Texas, there are enrollment organizations and resources like Enroll America, Houston Area Urban League, Young Invincibles, as well as federally qualified health centers who are available to provide assistance during the enrollment process.