The second year of signing up for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ends this Sunday. It’s been a roller coaster ride from the first day in the fall of 2012, when the Marketplace Website that insurance shoppers were to use melted on start-up. Republicans cooed with joy that such a big launch had gone so terribly bad. Their fondest dreams were realized as people who might qualify for taxpayer relief from rising private insurance health coverage premiums couldn’t find information or sign up for offered plans.
But the disaster Republicans wanted to continue didn’t, as Health and Human Service [HHS] officials jumped on the problem, rounded up a technical and fixed it, so the slow drip of early participants could turn into raging torrent of late comers who waited to the fourth quarter to get on-board with the biggest change in national health care policy ever.
But this Sunday is the 2015 deadline for anyone who wants coverage now without having to wait for the next open enrollment period, which could be as far away as this fall. Plunderbund has performed its public service by alerting Ohioans who might qualify to regular updates.
HHS reports Friday that about 10 million people have explored their options under the ACA since Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace began on November 15. With 48 hours remaining until the deadline passes, HHS sent reporters some interesting statistics today on how it’s been going.
Obamcare By The Numbers [as of February 11]:
10 million — The number of Americans who have already made getting health care a priority and signed up for or been automatically renewed for 2015 Marketplace coverage.
$268 — The average monthly tax credit for people who qualify for financial assistance in the 37 states [including Ohio] using Healthcare.gov through January 30.
87% — The percentage of Marketplace consumers who qualified for tax credits to make their monthly premiums more affordable in the first two months of open enrollment.
25% — The increase in issuers competing for business in the 2015 Marketplace as compared to last year.
40 — The average number of plans consumers can choose from this year.
1.86 million — The largest number of users on one day to HealthCare.gov.
76 to 16 — The reduction in the number of screens on HealthCare.gov that typical consumers need to click through when completing an application online this year as compared to last year.
14.2 million — Total calls answered at the Marketplace call center during this Open Enrollment season.
200+ — Languages in which consumer assistance is provided at the Marketplace Call Center.
5,000+ — Local outreach events conducted in Federally Facilitated Marketplace states across the country to drive enrollment and connect consumers with local assistance in their communities.
420+ — Calls, videos, interviews, TV, and radio interviews from the President, Vice President, First Lady, Dr. Biden, HHS and administration officials.
1 — The number of times President Barack Obama crashed the set of the Colbert Report to speak with viewers about the importance of signing up for coverage.
34% — Percentage of consumers who visited HealthCare.gov through a mobile device or tablet.
12% — Percentage of consumers who signed up for coverage at HealthCare.gov on a mobile device or tablet.
60% — Percentage of consumers who visited CuidadodeSalud.gov through a mobile device or tablet.
814 million — The number of impressions garnered by the #GetCovered social media campaign.
15.9 million — Total text messages sent by HealthCare.gov to consumers interested in learning more about their health care options.
1.3 billion — Impressions garnered from our “Join the Millions” television and radio campaign.
12.9 million — Phone calls from the Marketplace Call Center placed to remind consumers to sign up for coverage.
23,000+ — Certified application counselors, navigators and in-person assisters on the ground in communities across the nation working to educate and enroll individuals in Marketplace coverage.
70,000+ — Agents and brokers on the ground in communities across the nation working to educate and enroll individuals in Marketplace coverage.
1,565 — National, state and local partners helping to communicate information about the Health Insurance Marketplace. Partners included tech startups, pharmacies, convenient stores, retail shops and advocacy organizations.
5,500+ — Faith leaders who promoted health insurance enrollment within their communities through efforts like the Second Sunday program.
20,000+ — Number of letters written to the President thanking him for the Affordable Care Act since mid-2013 alone.
10 — Number of letter-writers who shared stories of how the Affordable Care Act impacted their health and lives directly with the President and Secretary Burwell in a round-table at the White House.
1,049 — People who shared their story through the “Share Your Story” tool and are living proof that the Affordable Care Act is working.
It’s too bad Ohio leaders, starting with Gov. Kasich and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who also directs the state insurance department, couldn’t have been more of a partner in helping the citizens of the state hear about the ACA, learn more about the ACA and sign-up for the ACA. Both officials, unfortunately, have been opponents of the nation’s new health care law, but were more than willing to take $2.5 billion to expand Medicaid while grumping about how flawed it is and how bad it will be.
The Ohio Story
But in spite of a poor partner in Ohio’s leaders, executive and legislative, HHS offers these statistics on the Buckeye State’s performance:
At the end of the first annual open enrollment period, enrollment in the Marketplace surged to eight million people nationwide. In Ohio alone, 154,668 individuals selected a Marketplace plan between October 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014 (including additional special enrollment period activity through April 19, 2014).
Of the 154,668 Ohioans who selected a plan:
- 54% are female and 46% are male;
- 33% are under age 35;
- 24% are between the ages of 18 and 34;
- 60% selected a Silver plan, while 25% selected a Bronze plan; and,
- 85% selected a plan with financial assistance.
HHS also reports on Ohio not following the lead of some Republican governors who said no to their citizens by saying no to expanding Medicaid under the ACA. Gov. Kasich accepted Medicaid mostly because it had $2.5 billion in federal funds attached to it, representing a decision based on money he’s turned into his planet of compassion for all those “people living in the shadows” under his watch. By expanding, more than 367,003 Ohioans are now insured under Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program since the first open enrollment period in October 2013.