White House pushes ObamaCare sign-ups ahead of deadline

Getty Images

The White House is stepping up its ObamaCare enrollment push ahead of a deadline on Tuesday.

{mosads}The deadline to sign up for ObamaCare coverage that begins on Jan. 1 is Tuesday, though the final deadline to sign up for coverage next year is not until Jan. 31.

Obama administration officials have fanned out for interviews and visits around the country ahead of the deadline, and the White House is touting a sign-up contest.

Under the contest, called the Healthy Communities Challenge, 20 cities around the country are competing to sign up the highest percentage of their uninsured residents. The winner will get a visit from President Obama.

The White House announced on Monday that through the first five weeks of the sign-up period, Milwaukee is in the lead, followed by Detroit and Philadelphia.

The contest is part of an effort to boost sign-ups during the latest enrollment period, which the White House acknowledges is more challenging than the first two years because the people most eager for insurance have already signed up.

The administration’s sign-up goal is 10 million people, an increase of just 900,000 over this year’s level of 9.1 million. The administration argues that would be “strong” growth, given that it would mean signing up in one in four of the 10.5 million eligible uninsured people. (Some are expected to drop out and not pay their premiums.)

More recent news has been a cause for optimism from the administration, though. Officials were pleased last week when they announced that more than 1 million new customers, and 2.8 million overall, had already signed up, even before the surge in attention ahead of the deadline. 

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell has traveled to Houston, Dallas, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Atlanta, Miami and Charlotte to urge people to sign up. She added San Antonio to the list on Monday.

Obama also gave a round of five local radio interviews and filmed videos for three of the cities in the enrollment challenge.

Six senior White House officials, including chief of staff Denis McDonough, additionally gave nearly two dozen more local radio and TV interviews.

Amid attention to rising premiums, officials are emphasizing the financial assistance available under the law, noting that more than seven in 10 people can find a plan for $75 a month or less in premiums, once they factor in the government subsidy.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said on Monday that more people (145,000) are simultaneously shopping on than at any time this year or last year.

CMS says that, similar to last year, there are so many people applying that some people will be asked to leave their contact information with the call center and will be contacted beginning on Dec. 16 to sign up. Even though they will miss the deadline, CMS says coverage will start Jan. 1 as long as people are in line ahead of Dec.15.

–This report was updated at 1:55 p.m.

Tags Denis McDonough
See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video