Healthcare Coverage: Marketplace Enrollment Hits 5 Million Milestone

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Lanika Wise signed up recently for coverage. Photo: Joshua Lott

[Healthcare: Op-Ed]

As this historic open enrollment period enters its final weeks, millions of Americans are finding quality, affordable coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act.  Fernando Valdez and Denise Schroeder were part of a weekend wave of consumers signing up for new coverage and bringing enrollment nationwide to more than 5 million through the Federal and State-based Marketplaces since October 1.

Fernando Valdez, 25, of El Paso, New Mexico woke up early on Saturday, after his mother insisted that he walk to an enrollment center and enroll in Marketplace coverage.  Now, he will pay $22 a month for his health insurance.  Fernando said that he walked away knowing that if “I get into an accident I will not be in trouble with trying to find health care."

And Denise Schroeder says she now feels like “I have a whole new life” after enrolling in coverage in recent days.  Denise, a small business owner in West Chester, Pennsylvania who runs “Happy Heart Clown N'Stuff,” which does balloon decorating and entertainment for parties is also a cancer survivor.  Because she had cancer, Denise knew she couldn’t let her health coverage lapse, but the $880 premium she was paying each month wiped out her savings account, and she said it was killing her.  But after working with an enrollment navigator, she enrolled on Thursday in a Silver Plan for $22 a month.  When she saw the new premium, she cried.

Consumers like Fernando and Denise are coming every day to check out their options for affordable health care at HealthCare.gov or seeking help from a trained representative in person or via our 24/7 call center.  The last several days have been the busiest since December, with the Call Center taking more than 198,000 calls on Thursday alone –the busiest day since December 23—and more than 130,000 calls over the weekend.  Last week, HealthCare.gov saw more than 4 million visits—and an additional 1 million visits this weekend.

With only two weeks to go, we’re continuing to work hard to ensure that every American who wants to enroll in affordable coverage by the deadline of March 31 is able to do so.  So don’t delay; tell your friends and family to sign up today.

 

Marilyn Tavenner is Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

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