(Bloomberg) — The Obama administration released a new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange qualified health plan (QHP) enrollment goal for 2016 that’s less than 1 million higher than this year’s projected total, acknowledging how hard it’s going to be to get more people to sign up for and maintain health insurance coverage.
By the end of 2016, about 10 million people will get individual coverage through the PPACA exchange system, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) projected Thursday. About 9.9 million people were enrolled in PPACA exchange plan policies as of June 30, and the administration has said that number will probably fall to about 9.1 million by the end of 2015 due to attrition.
“The remaining uninsured have a lot of concerns about whether or not they can afford coverage.” HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said Thursday on a conference call with reporters. She said most of those who remain uninsured are eligible for tax credits, though they’re often confused about the tax credits or unaware of them entirely. “We know our audiences are going to be harder to reach,” she said.
Burwell said in September that many of the remaining uninsured are poorer and younger than those who’ve already signed up. Almost half are aged 18 to 34, and about 40 percent of them make incomes between 139 percent and 250 percent of the poverty level, according to data released Thursday by HHS.