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Health insurance signups near 10 million in midyear report

  • AP
    FILE - In this Nov. 12

CHICAGO >> About 9.9 million people have signed up and paid for health insurance under President Barack Obama’s health care law, the administration said Tuesday, a slight dip from a previous count but on track toward the administration’s year-end goal of 9.1 million.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said that 84 percent of those, or more than 8.3 million, were receiving tax subsidies to help with the cost. A Supreme Court decision earlier this summer upheld insurance subsidies in all 50 states, a major victory for the White House.

(Only 8,802 people signed up on Hawaii’s Obamacare exchange as of June 30, the federal government said in the report, with 61.4 percent, or 5,404, of those enrolled receiving tax credits.

However, Jeff Kissel, executive director of the Hawaii Health Connector, said total enrollment on the exchange is actually 35,600. The numbers the feds are reporting are inaccurate because it doesn’t include enrollment from the state’s largest health insurer, Hawaii Medical Service Association, he said.

“The records are not fully reconciled with HMSA” because of the insurer’s significant delay in reporting, he said.)

The report was the first update since June on how the health care law’s insurance markets are performing in all 50 states. Enrollment shifts are to be expected as people cancel coverage or newly enroll as their circumstances change. A previous report had put the number at 10.2 million as of the end of March.

In 2014, the enrollment number peaked at around 8 million in the spring and dropped to 6.3 million by the end of the year. Hanging on to customers is a major priority for as well as state-run exchanges, amid a growing sense that it may take three to five years for the taxpayer-subsidized markets to approach their full potential.

Approximately 423,000 consumers lost coverage when they couldn’t produce enough documentation of their citizenship or immigration status, the department said in Tuesday’s report.

Obama’s law offers subsidized private insurance through online markets also called exchanges, plus an expanded version of Medicaid in states that adopt it. Independent surveys and government reports have documented steady gains in coverage since the 2014 launch of the insurance exchanges and the health law’s Medicaid expansion. The nation’s overall uninsured rate now stands at about 9 percent, a historic low.

“Consumers from coast to coast are continuing to show how important health coverage is to their families,” Health Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a news release. The figures released Tuesday cover the period through June 30.

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