The Obama administration released a new Obamacare enrollment goal for 2016 that’s less than 1 million higher than this year’s projected total, acknowledging how hard it’s going to be to get more people to sign up for and maintain health insurance coverage.
By the end of 2016, about 10 million people will get coverage through health-insurance marketplaces set up by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health & Human Services projected. About 9.9 million people were enrolled in Obamacare policies as of June 30, and the administration has said that number will probably fall to about 9.1 million by the end of 2015.
“The remaining uninsured have a lot of concerns about whether or not they can afford coverage.” HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said on a conference call with reporters Thursday. She said most of those who remain uninsured are eligible for tax credits, though they’re often confused about them or unaware of them entirely. “We know our audiences are going to be harder to reach,” she said.
Burwell said in September that many of the remaining uninsured are poorer and younger than those who’ve already signed up.
The affordability of health insurance has been brought up by both Republican and Democratic presidential candidates ahead of the 2016 election, and the administration’s success or failure in signing up people for coverage next year could heighten that debate.
Enrollment for 2016 coverage on the exchanges starts on Nov. 1, about three months before voters in each party begin choosing their candidates in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
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