HHS: 5.6M of 6M Who Signed Up on Exchanges Will Get Federal Funding

January 13, 2014 - 7:13 PM

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(CNSNews.com) - In their first three months of operation, the federal and state health-insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act—AKA Obamacare--have signed up 5,572,305 people who qualify to get federal funding for their health care, either through Medicaid or through an insurance premium subsidy, according to data released by the Department of Health and Human Service.

Those 5,572,305 are part of the “6 million Americans” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said today have used the exchanges to sign up for health insurance or Medicaid.

However, some of these people, as noted by CNNMoney, were already on Medicaid.

Today, HHS released a report on the number of people who from October through December signed up for health insurance plans through the marketplaces. The report says that, as of the end of December, 2,153,421 individuals had signed up for private health care plans. Of these, HHS had data on whether or not 2,082,840 had qualified for federal financial assistance in purchasing their plan.

Of those 2,082,840, some 1,646,237—or 79 percent--did qualify for federal assistance. 436,603-or 21 percent—did not.

On Dec. 20, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services had released a report on the number of people who had used the federal and state marketplaces in October and November and had been determined to be qualified to enroll in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. These totaled 3,926,068, according to that report.

Thus the 1,646,237 people who signed up for a federally subsidized private health insurance plan through the Obamacare exchanges and the 3,926,068 who were determined through the exchanges to be eligible for Medicaid or CHIPS equals a total of 5,572,305 people whom the Obamacare exchanges have discovered qualify for federally funded health care.

Under the Obamacare law, a family qualifies for a federal subsidy to buy health insurance in the exchange as long as their modified adjusted gross income does not exceed 400 percent of the poverty level.

The federal subsidy for private insurance places a sliding cap on percentage of income a qualified person can be made to pay in insurance premiums. The cap maxes out at 9 percent.  The U.S. Treasury pays whatever premium exceeds the percentage cap that applies to the person’s income level.

Depending on the state, a person can qualify for Medicaid under Obamacare if their income is up to 138 percent of the poverty level.

In a blog posting today, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said: “More than 6 million Americans have now either signed up for a private health insurance plan through the Marketplace or for Medicaid coverage.”

“But the numbers are somewhat misleading,” said a report posted today by CNNMoney. “Here are the figures: 2.1 million Americans signed up for private health insurance through the federal and state exchanges through the end of December. 3.9 million people learned they're eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in October and November.”

“The squishiness lies in the Medicaid number,” said CNNMoney. “The 3.9 million figure includes people who were already on Medicaid and are just renewing, as Marilyn Tavenner, the administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services noted in a blog post late last month. So not all of these folks have coverage due to Obamacare.”