Latest Obamacare numbers: more than a quarter million N.J. residents enrolled
NJ.COM, TRUE JERSEY
By KATHLEEN O'BRIEN, FEB. 18, 2015 at 2:32 PM
A quarter-million New Jersey residents have signed up or re-enrolled in a health insurance plan through the federalgovernment's website, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced this afternoon.
Nationwide, 11.4 million Americans either selected a plan or were re-enrolled in one, the department said.
Open enrollment in the second year of the Affordable Care Act ended this past weekend. From now until the next open enrollment period in November, the only people who can sign up for policies are those who can claim special circumstances for their delay. Those who continue to remain uninsured will face a fine on their taxes when they file ayear from now.
New Jersey's number of 253,000 enrollees is a cumulative number reflecting the 162,000 who enrolled the first year and 91,000 who joined since the last open enrollment period. (The number covers only those people who signed up to purchase private health insurance; it does not include those whose incomes are low enough to qualify for Medicaid.)
If the current numbers match earlier results, more than 80 percent of those N.J. enrollees will receive some kind of federal subsidy to help they pay their premiums.
Unlike the first go-around, the website, healthcare.gov, remained relatively glitch-free in the final days of enrollment. Wait times for the 800 number jumped to over 22 minutes during the last weekend before the Sunday deadline.
A surge of 37,000 people signed up in New Jersey in the final two weeks.
â€œIt was a blowout weekend for us,â€? said Kevin Counihan, CEO of the federal marketplace.
The agency will now focus on helping make policies more understandable to consumers, he said. When people are confronted with a lot of plans from which to choose, they would like to have access to a tool that allows them to plug in their own circumstances to point them in the right direction.
â€œWe often say this is a five-year implentation. It takes time to implement something that's complicated and has a lot of moving pieces,â€? he said.