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PPACA enrollment number falls

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The Obama administration said Thursday that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act had 7.3 million paying enrollees as of mid-August, down from the 8 million figure they’ve been touting since the end of enrollment in April.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner gave the updated figure to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. She didn’t specify why the number had fallen, but it might be due to those who signed up for coverage but never actually paid their premiums and got kicked off their plan. Others might have since found coverage through other sources, including employers.

“Each month, this number will change slightly as consumers transition in and out of coverage as their life circumstances change- everything from getting a new job, to moving to a new state, or becoming eligible for Medicaid or Medicare,” Tavenner told the committee.

An additional 7 million people have signed up for coverage through Medicaid.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced earlier this year that 8 million people had signed up for coverage during the law’s first open enrollment period. The figure — which officials had said were an estimate — exceeded expectations after the troubled fall rollout of The Congressional Budget Office predicted 6 million people would enroll in Obamacare plans.

At the time, though, industry experts speculated that 80 percent to 85 percent, or 6.4 million to 6.8 million people, would actually make premium payments.