The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday announced that 217,492 Illinoisans signed up for private health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by the end of the first enrollment period, beating federal government expectations. And according to the state, an additional 287,000 individuals in Illinois enrolled in Medicaid through Get Covered Illinois, the state's online health insurance marketplace.
Those who were looking to sign up for health insurance during the first open enrollment period under the ACA were able to do so from October 1, when the law's insurance exchanges launched, to March 31, 2014. Individuals who needed more time to complete the application process were given until April 19 to enroll.
“The six-month enrollment report shows that we are well on our way to achieving our goal of creating a culture of coverage in Illinois,” Jennifer Koehler, Get Covered Illinois' executive director, said in a statement. “We know there is still more work to be done. But the success of the open enrollment period shows that people all across Illinois recognize the importance of health care coverage and took action to get covered.”
At the state and national level, however, private health insurance sign-ups among eligible Hispanics, an important ACA demographic, were less than expected. Hispanics represented 10.7 percent of those who enrolled in coverage in the federal exchanges. But by comparison, 14.5 percent of Hispanics nationally were eligible to sign up for coverage.
According to the federal government, a total of 8,019,763 people selected marketplace plans during the first open enrollment period. The data released Thursday shows that 2.2 million, or 28 percent, of those who signed up were young people between the ages of 18 to 34. It is important for young and healthy people to enroll in health coverage through the ACA's marketplaces in order to keep premiums low by offsetting the costs associated with sicker people.
Click through for more on the latest statistics from the health and human services department.