The Next Exchange Open Enrollment Will Be Huge

The number of Americans who buy ObamaCare health insurance in the next open enrollment period will far surpass the 8 million who enrolled in plans earlier this year, according to an analysis by HealthCare.com. Twelve million to 16 million people are expected to purchase plans during the next open enrollment period, which starts on November 15, 2014 and ends on February 15, 2015.

Some of those who enrolled have already discontinued their plans, which is typical in the individual health market. About 20% don’t pay their initial premium. Historically 3% to 4% drop coverage each month as they migrate to new jobs, have a change in income or family status, or determine they no longer need it, etc. “Despite individual market reforms, this normal churn is continuing,” said CEO of HealthCare.com Jeff Smedsrud.

HealthCare.com predicts that enrollment lapses will be offset by a surge of people who did not buy plans last year. The penalties for not being insured for the 2014 tax year were relatively small. In 2015, penalties climb to $325 per adult and $162.50 per child or 2% of adjusted household income, whichever is higher. “It is clear that once the full force of the tax penalties is felt, choosing to remain uninsured will not be an attractive option,” Smedsrud said.

Also, many small businesses will stop providing coverage for employees, which may cause as many as 20 million people to migrate to individual plans. Finally, 8 million to 10 million people are covered by pre-ObamaCare plans that have been grandfathered — most of which will end by December 31, 2014. People covered by these plans will be forced to shop for new insurance in the next open enrollment period. “There could be twice as many people shopping for health plans, but with only half the time to enroll. There is huge pent up demand,” Smedsrud said.

Last Updated 11/25/2020

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