In Penn., ACA Exchange Sign-Ups Top 100K Mark as Website Troubles Subside

By | February 14, 2014

More than 123,000 Pennsylvanians have selected an insurance plan under the new federal health care law as troubles with the gateway website have subsided, the U.S. government said Wednesday, although tens of thousands more who might be eligible for Medicaid were suspended in limbo.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report with the figures for all states through Jan. 31. National numbers showed that nearly 3.3 million people signed up for health insurance from Oct. 1 through Feb. 1. The government’s initial target was 7 million by the end of March.

Of the nearly 123,700 Pennsylvanians who picked a plan since enrollment began Oct. 1, three out of four qualified for federal tax credits designed to subsidize the cost of the health insurance. Almost 70,000 were women and about 54,000 were men, while two-thirds selected the mid-range “silver” plan, which carries premiums that are typically higher than the lowest option, but out-of-pocket expenses, such as copays, are typically lower.

Federal officials also were unable to say how many of those who signed up were previously uninsured. Besides people who picked a plan, nearly 287,000 Pennsylvanians who explored the coverage were found to be eligible for coverage through a plan sold in the marketplace.

The health insurance plans are accessible to Pennsylvanians through, a gateway to the federally run online insurance marketplace, and people with low to moderate incomes are eligible for a tax credit.

A range of glitches with the website kept most people from signing up during October and November, but as glitches have been fixed, one has persisted.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been unable to transfer the electronic files of more than 50,000 Pennsylvanians who logged on to and were deemed potentially eligible for Medicaid, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Welfare said Wednesday.

The spokeswoman, Kait Gillis, said the state agency is in the early stages of contacting people in that group to determine whether they are, indeed, eligible for Medicaid and to enroll them.

Pennsylvania is relying on a federally run online insurance marketplace, like 35 other states, because Gov. Tom Corbett declined to take on the task.

A recent study by Families USA, a group that supports the health care law, said nearly 900,000 Pennsylvanians would qualify for a federal tax credit. About 1.5 million out of 12.8 million Pennsylvanians were uninsured in 2012, according to U.S. Census figures.

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