Five Stats You Absolutely Need to Know About Obamacare Sign-ups

A blog about business and economics.
March 31 2014 6:21 PM

Five Stats You Absolutely Need to Know About Obamacare Sign-ups

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said today that 80 to 90 percent of Obamacare sign-ups have also paid a premium.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Today’s health insurance enrollment deadline has sparked a new round of arguments over whether Obamacare is succeeding or failing. Here are five key stats you’ll need to know for the debate (and for the skimmers out there, we’ve bolded the numbers for you).

The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday evening that “at least 9.5 million previously uninsured people have gotten health insurance since Obamacare started,” according to national surveys and reports on enrollment data. To be clear, that figure isn't just counting people who have signed up through the exchanges on—rather, it's a total of the previously uninsured people who have acquired coverage through the marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act, through private insurance, or through state-by-state expansions of Medicaid.


So far, some 6 million people have signed up for health coverage using the new exchanges, of which about one-third were previously uninsured, according to data cited by the Los Angeles Times. Of those 6 million, insurance companies estimate that 80 to 90 percent have actually paid a premium, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on KWTV-TV Monday.

That last fact is a key statistic because people are only considered to have officially enrolled once they pay the premium. Applying that 80 to 90 percent estimate to the 6 million sign-ups would mean that the number of people fully enrolled in Obamacare is actually between 4.8 million and 5.4 million.

Beyond the exchanges, some 4.5 million previously uninsured adults have signed up for state Medicaid programs, and 3 million young adults have gained health care through a provision of the Affordable Care Act that allows children to remain on their parents’ plans until they turn 26, according to data cited by the Los Angeles Times.

Yet again, and perhaps to no one’s surprise, went down on Monday as people across the country scrambled to sign up before the official deadline passed. Those who were foiled by the software snafu shouldn’t worry, however. Health and Human Services is issuing basically everybody an extension.

Alison Griswold is a Slate staff writer covering business and economics.



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