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918K and counting

Obamacare enrollment numbers in Texas keep going up.

It's constitutional - deal with it

It’s constitutional – deal with it

More than 7 million people, including 918,890 Texans, have selected a plan or were automatically re-enrolled in coverage in the federal health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act, according to government data released Wednesday.

[…]

But the figures released Wednesday aren’t separated between new enrollments and renewals. The figures indicate more Texans have bought 2015 coverage than they did on 2014. We just don’t know how many. We also don’t know how many previously were uninsured.

“You’d have to know that to assess the impact on the uninsured rate,” said Elena Marks, President and CEO of Houston’s Episcopal Health Foundation, in a recent email. She also is a non-resident fellow of health policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute. Marks and Vivian Ho, the Baker Institute’s health economics chair, began studying the effects the health insurance marketplace could have on Texas’ uninsured rates long before the marketplace’s October 2013 launch.

Texas has the largest percentage of uninsured residents nationwide. About 6 million Texans are uninsured.

“If there were about 6 million uninsured (statewide) before, if even half of these are newly insured, that would be a big dent in the number,” she said. “Perhaps, most importantly, it reverses a decade of flat or declining rates of insurance in this state.”

Karen Love, senior vice president of Community Health Choice, the Houston area’s largest managed care organization and a marketplace health insurance provider, said Wednesday the updated numbers show new consumers bought coverage. With a month of open enrollment left, more will continue to do so, she said.

“We will easily top the 1 million mark,” Love said, adding that most people who needed to maintain continuous coverage into 2015 probably renewed by Dec. 15. That was the deadline to ensure coverage on Jan. 1. “Anyone enrolled in January and February is bound to be new.”

I felt pretty good about topping one million at the last update. At this point, who knows what the limit is. At a national level, ten million is not out of the question. I can’t wait to see the full final numbers.

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