ObamaCare enrollment drops to 11.1M

ObamaCare enrollment drops to 11.1M
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ObamaCare enrollment dropped to about 11.1 million people at the end of March, according to new figures released by the administration. 

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said enrollment fell to about 11.1 million, down from the 12.7 million who signed up for coverage before the Jan. 31 deadline.

A dropoff was expected, and has occurred in previous years as well, given that some people who sign up do not pay their premiums. 

The CMS said 87 percent of enrollees remained signed up, within the expected range of 80 percent to 90 percent retention. 

The administration says it still projects that about 10 million people will remain signed up by the end of the year. 

The Congressional Budget Office had at one point projected that 2016 enrollment would be as high as 21 million people. ObamaCare critics have pointed to this disparity between projections and actuality to argue that the law is underperforming. 

The administration counters that fewer employers than expected have dropped their coverage and shifted people into the marketplaces. 

Still, officials acknowledge that the remaining uninsured will be hard to reach. 

Kevin Counihan, the CEO of the ObamaCare marketplaces, said the fact that about a million more people are signed up than at a similar point last year — 11.1 million compared to 10.2 million — is a sign of success. 

Administration economists estimate that 20 million people have gained coverage because of ObamaCare, both from the marketplaces and from the law’s expansion of Medicaid. 

“This increased level of enrollment demonstrates the strength of the Marketplace over time, as millions of Americans continue to have access to quality and affordable coverage when they need it,” Counihan said. “As of early this year, 20 million Americans had coverage thanks to provisions of the Affordable Care Act, and the Health Insurance Marketplace is an important contributor to that progress.”

The administration also highlighted progress in notifying people of problems and taking other steps to cut down on people losing coverage because they lack the proper documentation. 

The CMS said that in the first three months of the year, 17,000 people lost coverage because of citizenship or immigration documentation problems, a figure that is down 85 percent from last year.