Estimates for use of Health Insurance Exchanges higher than expected

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Estimates from 19 states operating health insurance exchanges to help
the uninsured find coverage show that at least 8.5 million will use the
exchanges to buy insurance, a USA TODAY survey shows. States Predict More Insurance Customers:

That number would far outstrip the federal government's estimate of 7 million
new customers for all 50 states under the 2010 health care law.

USA TODAY contacted the 50 states, and 19 had estimates for how many
of their uninsured residents they expect will buy through the exchanges.
About 48 million Americans were uninsured in 2011, according to the
Kaiser Family Foundation.

"For the most part, that's a very good
thing," said Paul Ginsburg, president of the Center for Studying Health
System Change. "First, these are people who need health insurance. And
second, the scenario that only sick people will enroll is less likely."

* * *

To stay financially viable, insurers need healthy people to help
round out the costs of those with chronic conditions. The non-partisan
Congressional Budget Office did its own research to determine 7 million
people would enroll for the 2014 exchanges.

California alone said it expected to sign up 5.3 million people.

To diversify the health of the pool, the Department of Health and
Human Services has targeted three states where half of uninsured people
ages 18 to 35 live: Texas, Florida and California.

The states said
they made their estimates based on how many individuals are uninsured
and aren't likely to become insured by an employer, what insurers in
their states expect and conversations with HHS about reasonable goals.

"It's not a positive development for the Republican opponents who would like to see this fail," Ginsburg said.

* * *

Ginsburg said more people may sign up for the exchanges because not
all of the states are expanding Medicaid to adults who make less than
137% of the federal poverty level. Adults in that category who make at
least 100% of the federal poverty level are eligible for subsidies
through the exchanges.

"Having a target and having a metric to
reach that target is important," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told
USA TODAY. "I'm optimistic we'll have millions of people sign up. We've
been working a long time on this." Last week, Sebelius announced $67
million in grants to groups across the country that will spread the word
to potential insurance customers about the law and the exchanges.

The
open enrollment for new insurance customers in the exchanges starts
Oct. 1 and ends March 31, 2014. States either created their own
exchanges, have a partnership exchange with the federal government or
defaulted and had the federal government created an exchange for them.

As Americans familiarize themselves with the health insurance exchanges after October 1 and the millions of Americans who cannot currently obtain affordable health insurace due to pre-existing conditions find that they can finally afford health insurance, even more numbers of Americans will use "ObamaCare."

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