(Bloomberg) More than 1 million people used the U.S. Healthcare.gov system to sign up for Affordable Care Act plans in the seven days ending Dec. 12, the best week yet for enrollment in the programs second year.
In total, 2.5 million Americans have signed up for health insurance plans since Nov. 15, when the online system opened for business, the government said Tuedsday in a statement. The Obama administrations goal for 2015 is to get 9.1 million paying customers in plans sold under the law.
Of people who have enrolled so far using Healthcare.gov, 52% already had coverage under the ACA, and 48% were new customers.
For millions of people who already have coverage and havent shopped for a new plan for next year, federal officials Tuesday began the process of automatically renewing their enrollment. About 6.7 million people were enrolled in plans sold through the federal system and by states as of Oct. 15.
We want to make sure that our enrollees stay insured and maintain the peace of mind of having health insurance, Kevin Counihan, the CEO of Healthcare.gov, said in a conference call with reporters.
Enrollment in ACA plans is proceeding much more smoothly for 2015 than it did last year, when the government had only about 2.2 million people signed up after three months as it struggled to fix software bugs at Healthcare.gov.
The actual number of people in the U.S. who have enrolled in plans is certainly higher, since the governments four-week count doesnt include those who signed up using insurance exchanges in California, New York and 11 other states that handle enrollment themselves.
Charles Gaba, a blogger in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., who has accurately predicted enrollment under the ACA, estimated in a post on his website that about 4.7 million people nationwide had signed up for coverage by the end Monday. That includes federal and state enrollments.
Separately, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a Dec. 14 report that the uninsured rate among Americans age 18 to 64 had fallen more than three percentage points from 2013 through June, to 17%. About 2.4% of Americans younger than 65 were enrolled in plans bought through ACA insurance exchanges, the CDC said, based on a survey of about 57,000 people.
Still Not Perfect
While a vast improvement over last year, the U.S. enrollment system hasnt been perfect. Officials acknowledged a few minor problems over the past weekend, when hundreds of thousands of Americans rushed to meet a Dec. 15 deadline to sign up for coverage effective Jan. 1. About 1.6 million people called help lines for assistance between Dec. 10 and Dec. 12, and fewer than 500,000 were routed to an automated system that invited them to be called back, said Lori Lodes, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The return calls began today and people receiving them will be allowed to finish signing up for Jan. 1 if they didnt already complete the process on their own, Lodes said.
Enrollment for 2015 plans ends on Feb. 15.
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