KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Sign-Up Surge Brings Health Law’s Enrollment Tally To 5 Million

In the past two weeks, an estimated 800,000 people have used the health law's online marketplaces to select health insurance. But doubts persist as to whether the number of enrollees will come close to the Obama administration's latest target, and questions continue about how many of these shoppers have actually paid their premiums.

The New York Times: 5 Million Have Enrolled For Coverage Under Health Law, White House Says
The White House said Monday that more than five million people had signed up for private health insurance under President Obama’s health care law, an increase of about 800,000 in the last two weeks (Pear, 3/18).

Los Angeles Times: Obamacare Enrollment Tops 5 Million Amid Surge In Sign-Ups
More than 5 million people have now signed up for health insurance on marketplaces created by President Obama’s healthcare law, thanks to a surge in enrollment over the last two weeks, the Obama administration announced Monday. The quickening pace of sign-ups confirms that many Americans are using the new marketplaces as a March 31 deadline approaches for getting coverage this year (Levey, 3/17).

The Washington Post: Obamacare Enrollment Hits 5 Million
Officials had predicted that the pace of enrollments would pick up this month, because March 31 is the last day to sign up for a marketplace plan and avoid a fine. The health law requires most Americans to have health insurance or incur a penalty of $95 or 1 percent of their income this year, whichever is higher (Somashekhar, 3/17).

NPR: Obamacare Enrollment Surges Past 5 Million
The Obama administration said 5 million Americans have now signed up for health insurance through the exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act, the president signature legislation (Peralta, 3/17).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Health Care Sign-Ups Hit 5M Mark
That still leaves about 1 million to go over the next two weeks for the White House to meet its latest goal of 6 million enrolled by March 31. That would work out to more than 70,000 people a day. And some independent analysts say that’s a stretch (3/17).

The Wall Street Journal: New Health Exchanges Reach 5 Million Enrollees
Still unclear is a key piece of data: How many of the current enrollees were previously uninsured. A primary goal of the 2010 health law was to extend insurance coverage to an additional 30 million Americans (Corbett Dooren, 3/17).

Politico: Health Law Enrollment Hits 5 Million With Two Weeks To Go
Lukewarm progress in February — when fewer than a million people enrolled, and 6 million seemed like wishful thinking — suggested that the administration could fall short of expectations that had already been lowered following the HealthCare.gov debacle in the fall. Now the question is whether the momentum will be sustained amid a full-court press by the White House, advocates and, now, basketball stars (Cheney, 3/17).

Reuters: U.S. Administration Says Obamacare Enrollment Tops 5 Million
With the March 31 enrollment deadline only two weeks away, a top administration official reported a big upswing in public interest in subsidized health insurance and said traffic on the federal website HealthCare.gov reached 1 million visitors over the weekend (Morgan, 3/17).

NBC News: Last-Minute Surge: Five Million Now Signed Up For Obamacare
The new figures suggest a final push by the White House to get people to enroll is working. The deadline to get signed up for 2014 is March 31, just two weeks away. As of March 1, the Health and Human Services Department said 4.2 million people had signed up. “Fernando Valdez and Denise Schroeder were part of a weekend wave of consumers signing up for new coverage and bringing enrollment nationwide to more than 5 million through the federal and state-based marketplaces since October 1st,” Marilyn Tavenner, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, wrote in a blog post (Fox, 3/17).

PBS NewsHour: Insurance Marketplace Enrollment Hits 5 Million
The White House hopes the total will be closer to 6 million by the end of open enrollment March 31 — which is still well below the 7 million they initially projected would be enrolled by this time. The PBS NewsHour recently re-capped the types of uninsured Americans the administration is pursuing most fiercely in these final weeks (3/17).

McClatchy: Administration: More Than 5 Million Have Signed Up For Health Care
The Congressional Budget Office expected six million people to sign up for coverage by the time open enrollment ends on March 31. But research by consulting firm, Avalere Health, suggests the final enrollment tally may only reach 5.4 million people (Pugh, 3/17).

The Fiscal Times: White House Says 5 Million Selected Obamacare Plans
Though enrollment has surged by about 800,000 since the end of February, the administration’s latest figure is not a clear estimate of how many people have actually gained coverage through the exchanges since it doesn’t include who has paid for their plans. Last week, Politico reported that four of the country’s largest insurance companies said about 20 percent of people who signed up for Obamacare had not paid their first months premiums—meaning they should not be counted in the total enrollment numbers (Ehley, 3/17).

Fox News: Survey: One-Third Of Uninsured Do Not Plan To Buy Insurance, Despite ObamaCare Deadline
Two weeks out from the ObamaCare enrollment deadline, a new survey shows about one-third of uninsured American have no plans to buy insurance -- despite the law's requirement to do so. And despite the administration's aggressive campaign to spread the word about the health care law, the same survey shows a startling percentage of people still don't know about the Affordable Care Act's basic provisions. The report from Bankrate.com was released Monday, in the final stretch of the government's effort to sign people up for coverage. After March 31, some who do not have coverage could face a penalty under the law -- though, in recent weeks, the administration has created wiggle room to let those who have trouble getting insurance avoid a fine (3/17).

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