Obamacare Nears Enrollment Coverage Goal

Pete Souza/White House

At least 9.5 million people nationwide have enrolled in Obamacare coverage, with one month left in open enrollment, the federal government said Tuesday.

The total includes new sign-ups and renewals of 2014 coverage, as of Jan. 16. It is the first full picture of insurance exchange sign-ups for 2015, including both the federal and the state marketplaces.

The Obama administration hasn't met its enrollment goal yet, but it's close. The Health and Human Services Department said it aims to have between 9 million and 10 million enrolled in exchange coverage this year. Open enrollment closes Feb. 15.

More than 7.1 million people enrolled in coverage in the 37 states using HealthCare.gov, while almost 2.4 million enrolled in the 13 states, plus D.C., that established their own exchanges, the agency said.

The totals released Tuesday do not reflect the number of customers who have actually paid their first premiums, which is necessary to obtain coverage. Last year, about 8 million people signed up for coverage during the first enrollment period, and that number dropped to about 6.7 million paid sign-ups by October.

Assuming a similar nonpayment rate of just under 15 percent, HHS would need fewer than 1 million more consumers to sign up for coverage before the second open enrollment period ends to meet its goal.

The administration's goal was revised down in November from an earlier Congressional Budget Office projection of 13 million people enrolled in the health law's exchanges this year.

The CBO lowered that estimate to 12 million in a report released Monday. Overall, the budget office says Obamacare cut the number of uninsured Americans by around 12 million last year and will reduce the number by 19 million in 2015.

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