Anne Filipic, president of the leading Affordable Care Act advocacy group, said the “announcement that 6 million consumers have successfully chosen health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace is great news and demonstrates the momentum that our hundreds of staff and tens of thousands of volunteers are seeing every day, as unprecedented numbers of uninsured Americans are showing up to our hundreds of enrollment events across the country.”
“With so many more who still stand to benefit from the new affordable health care options, we’re not taking our foot off the pedal in the least. Over the next few days, we’ll continue our all-hands-on-deck effort to help as many Americans as possible get covered before March 31,” Filipic said.
Obama’s announcement of the 6 million enrollments came a day after administration officials revealed details of a special enrollment period that will allow some people to sign up for an insurance plan past Monday’s deadline without incurring a penalty.
To qualify for that grace period, people must affirm that they had begun the application process on HealthCare.gov but were prevented from completing their enrollment by technological issues or other problems. Officials set no firm deadline for those people to either make that affirmation or select a plan, suggesting that until the deadline they would not know how many people would have to be accommodated.
The tweak in the rules, just the latest in a series of deadline extensions and revisions by administration officials, drew renewed criticism from Republican opponents to the Affordable Care Act, who fault the president both for those changes, and for the underlying framework of the Affordable Care Act.
Rep. Fred Upton, R-MI, on Wednesday noted that the latest deadline modification came two weeks after an administration officials “insisted that the administration did not have ‘statutory authority’ to extend the enrollmen tperiod for this year.”
“Yet here we are,” Upton said. “Sadly, the administration has wreaked havoc on the peace of mind for many Americans who are now confronted with plan cancellations, skyrocketing premiums, and lost access to a trusted doctor. Itis time for fairness for all – all that’s left is to delay the individual mandate.”
Final enrollment tallies should be available sometime in mid-April. After that, no one will be allowed to enroll in plans sold on the government exchanges until next fall unless they have a so-called “qualifying life event,” such as divorcing, losing their job or having a child.
Even with the new tally, tens of millions of people will still not have health insurance after the deadline passes.