(Bloomberg) The Congressional Budget Office, the main arbiter of Obamacares effects on the economy, left unchanged its estimate of the number of people expected to gain insurance coverage under the law. Benefit brokers note that because of descrepancies in people who enroll and people who actually pay a premium, they won't know how many people they helped truly enroll for a few months.
"I believe in 3 to 4 months I can say exactly how many I wrote and how many actually became a client," said Naama O. Pozniak, owner of A+ Insurance Service in Studio City, Calif, in an interview with EBA in late March. "Its not just how many you wrote ... you need to make sure you send all the documents and you need to upload things into the system and make sure people are paying and if theyre not paying then they're not enrolled."
About 6 million people on average are expected to be enrolled this year in private health plans using new insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, the budget agency said. The U.S. health secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, said before her resignation was announced April 10 that 7.5 million had already signed up for private plans; enrollment ends tomorrow.
That figure exceeded the CBOs estimates of enrollment before the exchanges opened Oct. 1 and technology failures prevented millions of Americans from immediately signing up. The agency revised its estimate downward to 6 million in February. President Barack Obama credited Sebelius with the turn-around even as he announced his nominee to replace her, White House budget director Sylvia Mathews Burwell, in an April 11 speech.
Under Kathleens leadership, her team at HHS turned the corner, got it fixed, got the job done, and the final score speaks for itself, Obama said.
The CBOs latest estimate is for all of 2014 and includes people who are able to sign up after April 15 because of life-changing events such as marriage or losing a job. The agency said that 7 million would also join Medicaid, the program for low-income people that is being expanded in 26 states, a decrease of 1 million since February.
Subsidies to help people pay premiums for ACA plans will cost $17 billion this year, down $3 billion from February, the agency said. The Medicaid expansion is expected to cost $20 billion, up $1 billion from February.
Register or login for access to this item and much more
All Employee Benefit Adviser content is archived after seven days.
Community members receive:
- All recent and archived articles
- Conference offers and updates
- A full menu of enewsletter options
- Web seminars, white papers, ebooks
Already have an account? Log In
Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access