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Health Insurance Marketplace enrollments rise sharply in January, HHS reports

HHS publishes videos with the stories of young adults who have benefited from the ACA to encourage others to sign up for a plan.
HHS publishes videos with the stories of young adults who have benefited from the ACA to encourage others to sign up for a plan.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Enrollments in health plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace increased 53 percent in January over the October through December numbers, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today, Feb. 12. According to the agency’s January report, as of Feb. 1 nearly 3.3 million Americans have selected a health plan through the new insurance exchanges.

“These encouraging trends show that more Americans are enrolling every day, and finding quality, affordable coverage in the Marketplace,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a HHS press statement. Of particular note is the number of young adults that have selected a health plan.

During the last three months of 2013, 489,460 adults aged 18-34 selected health plans. This number rose to 807,515 by the end of January, representing an increase of 65 percent.

This age group is often called the “young invincibles” because many are in good health and do not understand the need for health insurance coverage. Opponents of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have aimed advertising campaigns at this group urging them to boycott the health insurance exchanges.

In a Feb. 12 press release, Executive Director of the organization Young Invincibles Aaron Smith said, “We are thrilled to see young adult enrollment rates continue to increase and expect this trend will continue as more learn that they can get help paying for their insurance and work with in-person enrollment assisters.”

According to the HHS report, 79 percent of enrollees in the state-based exchanges received some financial assistance to defray the cost of premiums. In the exchanges supported or fully ran by the federal government, 83 percent received financial assistance.

Open enrollment continues through March 31. To avoid a penalty, most Americans must have coverage effective April 1.