HealthCare.gov seems to be struggling to meet what looked to many observers like a low signup goal for 2016.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said today that 9.6 million people selected qualified health plan (QHP) coverage through the exchange during the third Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) open enrollment period, which started Nov. 1 and ended Jan. 31 in most of the country.
HHS predicted in October that HealthCare.gov, which handles PPACA exchange enrollment for states unwilling or unable to provide exchange enrollment services for their residents, would sign about 10 million people up for exchange coverage by the end of the year.
The state-based exchanges signed about 3.1 million people up for coverage, bringing the total up to about 12.7 million.
In New York state, 400,000 people enrolled a new PPACA coverage program, a Basic Health Program plan, which is like a managed Medicaid program that moderate-income people can pay to join.
Consumers can sign up for individual health coverage between now and the end of the year by showing they qualify for special enrollment periods (SEPs).
HealthCare.gov probably will meet the 10 million signup target by the end of the year, according to the Avalere analysts.
Several major 2015 QHP issuers withdrew products from the exchange system for 2016 or reacted to growing concerns about 2014 and 2015 QHP performance by reducing marketing support for the 2016 open enrollment period. Insurers ran many television commercials for private Medicare plans this fall but few aimed individual health insurance buyers under the age of 65.
Some traditional brokers and private Web-based insurance brokers said they did well during the open enrollment period.
HealthCare.com, for example, said it attracted about 1 million shoppers during the open enrollment period, or about four times as many as it attracted during the open enrollment period for 2015.
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