You are here:HomeIssuesHealth Care Reform2014Focus on ACA Enrollment Overlooks Millions Who Bought Private Insurance

Focus on ACA Enrollment Overlooks Millions Who Bought Private Insurance

As the number of people enrolling in health plans through exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act are tracked, often overlooked is that enrollment in private health plans outside the marketplaces is also booming, reports the nonpartisan Kaiser Health News...
April 17, 2014

As the number of people enrolling in health plans through exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are tracked, often overlooked is that enrollment in private health plans outside the marketplaces is also booming, reports the nonpartisan Kaiser Health News. The federal government hasn’t been counting the number of people who buy new plans directly from insurance carriers, or from agents and brokers.

When Alaskan insurance broker Joshua Weinstein wanted to sign someone up for health insurance this year, he asked one key question – would they qualify for a federal subsidy? If they did, he said it was worth signing up through HealthCare.gov to make sure they got that substantial reduction in the cost of the monthly premium. But if they made too much money to qualify for a subsidy, he steered them away from HealthCare.gov.

“If you can avoid that whole level of bureaucracy and get a good plan – not necessarily at a good price, but at the same price – and they’re not eligible [for a subsidy], we’re going off the marketplace,” said Weinstein. Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, says there’s a lot of focus on the 7.5 million people who signed up through the 14 state exchanges or HealthCare.gov. But he believes the off-exchange number is just as essential to gauging how well the law is working. “I think it’s probably the case that there are more people insured in the individual market off the exchange than on the exchange right now.” A new survey from the RAND Corp. estimates 7.8 million people nationwide bought health insurance between September and mid-March directly from a carrier.

Filed under: