Affordable Care Act

Texas Among Top States For Obamacare End-of-Year Enrollment Rush

December saw a sharp increase in the number of people enrolling in new health plans provided by the Affordable Care Act. Federal officials applauded the new figures, saying the enrollment rate shows the online marketplaces are working.

The website got off to a notorious start in October, with technical glitches turning many people away.

But the government worked to improve the website, and more people rushed to enroll in December.

December was the last month to sign up if you wanted coverage in January. 

The new report shows that five times as many people signed up in December as did in October and November.

Kathleen Sebelius is the Secretary for Health and Human Services.

“The numbers show that there is a very strong national demand for affordable healthcare made possible by the Affordable Care Act.”

The new figures show that almost 2.2 million people have now signed up through the on-line insurance marketplaces.

Texas was one of the top five states for sign-ups.

118,000 Texans have signed up since October 1.

Supporters of the law cheered the fact that 80 percent of the people who signed up found out they qualified for financial assistance to help pay for a policy.

The federal government will continue to release a monthly report until the end of March, when the enrollment period ends.

One closely-watched figure will be how many young people under age 34 sign up.

Right now about a quarter of the sign-ups are in that age range.

Insurance companies need those young people to participate — and balance out the large number of older and presumably sicker people who have signed up.

Julie Bataille is a federal spokeswoman.

“The numbers we are releasing today reinforce the fact that there is a strong interest in the product overall across a range of demographics. We certainly expect that the young and healthy individuals may wait until the very end to sign up but we know that the mix is important and that will be key to our outreach efforts moving forward.”

By March 31, the federal government would like the percentage of younger people signing up to increase from 25 to 40 percent of the total.

Anyone can still shop for a plan and subsidies on until March 31. After that, the plans are closed for 2014.


Carrie Feibel

Carrie Feibel

Health and Science Reporter

Carrie Feibel is the health and science reporter. Her reporting frequently appears on national NPR shows like Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Before coming to Houston Public Media, Feibel spent ten years as an award-winning newspaper reporter. She has worked at the Houston Chronicle, the Associated Press, and two...

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