Nearly two years into its implementation, the Obama administration is projecting 10 million fewer Obamacare enrollees in 2016 than were originally expected.
Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it expects roughly 10.4 million Americans to have health insurance coverage in 2016 through Obamacare. The estimate is a modest increase from the 9.1 million the Department of Health and Human Services projects will have signed up during this year’s open enrollment period.
Americans can begin purchasing insurance on either state-run exchanges or the federal exchange, HealthCare.gov, beginning Nov. 1. The open enrollment period ends Jan. 31, 2016.
The White House’s projected enrollment for 2016 differs greatly from that of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. In March, the agency said that an estimated 21 million would have coverage under Obamacare in 2016. In 2017, the Congressional Budget Office said 24 million would gain coverage under the health care law.
“Early projections for marketplace sign-ups envisioned a significant migration from employer-sponsored coverage,” Sylvia Mathews Burwell, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, told reporters last week. “That shift has not occurred.”
Burwell also told reporters that those who are uninsured are still concerned about whether they will be able to afford plans available on the exchanges.
Still, Burwell said the Obama administration’s goal of 10 million new enrollees is “strong and realistic.”
Americans who do not purchase insurance in 2016 will have to pay a fine of either 2.5 percent of their household income or $695 per person.