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Obamacare enrollments pass 4.2 million mark in February

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An additional 942,000 enrolled in health plans through the exchanges last month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports in a March 11 issue brief. This brings the total number of enrollments since the health care exchanges opened Oct. 1, 2013 to 4.2 million, about 1.5 million short of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services projections that total enrollments would reach nearly 5.7 million by the end of February.

The rate of enrollments in Marketplace plans remained constant from January.

In the state-based exchanges, 81 percent of enrollees received financial assistance in the form of tax credits and cost-sharing reductions. In the federal exchange, 85 percent received this assistance.

The rate of young adults, aged 18-34, who are enrolling in plans has increased slightly from January’s figures. This demographic, often called the “young invincibles” because many in this group do not see the need for health insurance, is of special concern. Without younger, healthier people buying into the risk pools, health insurance premiums will rise.

HHS predicts the enrollment rate will increase in March. The open enrollment period ends March 31. Open enrollment for 2015 begins Nov. 15, 2014.

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