More than 1 million Americans waited until the last five days to sign up for 2014 health coverage under Obamacare, and early indications are that many were young minorities, according to insurance analysts and enrollment groups, Bloomberg reported.
That late surge of young people may be good news for health insurers, which have been concerned that the customers enrolling in health plans through the new insurance exchanges are sicker and older than the average American.
About 7.1 million people signed up for private plans under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by the close of the first enrollment period on March 31, President Barack Obama announced. The figure, a symbolic triumph for the president, met a year-old projection by the Congressional Budget Office that was thought out of reach after the exchanges were plagued by computer malfunctions last October.
"The enrollment surge is the best news possible for insurance companies," Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, which tracks health programs, said yesterday in a phone interview.
An Iowa Insurance Division spokesman said that final enrollment figures aren't available yet for Iowa. The last official enrollment figures, as of March 1, were 15,346 Iowans enrolled through the federal marketplace.
CoOportunity Health, a new nonprofit cooperative health plan that has been enrolling people in plans for the past six months, has enrolled 25,701 Iowans in its plans, of which approximately 10,000 were enrolled through the public marketplace. The remainder of that Iowa enrollment consists of about 7,500 individuals who have signed up for coverage outside of the exchange as well as about 8,000 employees who have enrolled in plans through employer groups, said Cliff Gold, CoOportunity's chief operating officer. Across Iowa and Nebraska, the cooperative health plan has enrolled nearly 69,000 members, he said.
Numbers were not immediately available for Coventry Health Care, which is also selling plans on the public marketplace in Iowa. A Coventry spokesman noted that people enrolled by the March 31 deadline won't have active coverage until they make their first month's payment, which is due the end of April. "If people do not pay, the end of April enrollment figures will be different ... so we really won't get clarity until sometime in May,"said Rohan Hutchings, a regional communications director with Coventry's parent company, Aetna. The companies likely won't discuss specific enrollment figures until Aetna's next quarterly earnings call, if at all, he said.