About 6.4 million consumers have enrolled for subsidized health insurance coverage through HealthCare. gov, ahead of last year’s pace, U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services officials said Wednesday.
The number of people who signed up for coverage during the Nov. 1 through Dec. 19 period represents an increase of 400,000 compared with the same period a year ago, the government said.
Total plan selections through the extended deadline of Dec. 19 include 2.05 million new consumers and 4.31 million returning consumers actively renewing their coverage.
“Today’s enrollment numbers confirm that doomsday predictions about the marketplace are not bearing out,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said.
In Missouri, 185,413 people have selected a plan for coverage starting Jan. 1, a more than 3 percent increase compared with this time last year, HHS said.
The statistics released are for 39 states served by HealthCare.gov, the federal online insurance marketplace established under the Affordable Care Act. Numbers from states running their own markets have not been fully tallied and will be added later, raising the total. Toward the end of this month, several million current customers who are being re-enrolled automatically will be added to the count.
The government has said it expects a total of 13.8 million people to sign up for 2017 coverage compared with 12.7 million in 2016.
That coverage will cost more. In October, the government said benchmark 2017 HealthCare.gov premiums will rise 25 percent compared with 2016. The average monthly premium for the benchmark plan will rise to $302 from $242 in 2016.
But the impact of premium increases on most people enrolled in the exchanges has been softened by the law’s subsidies, which are designed to rise if the cost of insurance goes up.
Because of higher subsidies offsetting higher premiums, taxpayers will be paying nearly $10 billion more next year to make insurance available to millions of lower-income Americans, a study last week from the nonpartisan Center for Health and Economy found. The cost of premium subsidies to taxpayers will rise from $32.8 billion currently to $42.6 billion next year, the study found.
The government provides income-based subsidies to about 85 percent of people enrolled; 72 percent of consumers on Healthcare. gov are able to find plans with premiums of less than $75 a month.
President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to overturn the Affordable Care Act.