87% of HealthCare.gov Consumers Receiving Financial Assistance for Premiums

A large majority of people who selected health insurance plans through HealthCare.gov during the first month of open enrollment for 2015 will receive financial assistance for their monthly premiums, according to HHS.

A large majority of people who selected health insurance plans through HealthCare.gov during the first month of open enrollment for 2015 will receive financial assistance for their monthly premiums, according to HHS.

A new report revealed that roughly 87% of people who have so far selected plans are eligible for financial assistance. This is an increase from 80% during a similar period in 2013. However, the legality for this financial assistance through the federal Marketplace will be heard by the Supreme Court on March 4, 2015. If the Court decides these subsidies are not legal, then a large majority of consumers will be affected to the point that experts are saying the Affordable Care Act would fall to pieces.

According to the data, during the first month of open enrollment, more than 4 million in both the state and federal Marketplaces signed up, either for the first time or reenrolled, for covered for 2015. That breaks out to more than 600,000 consumers on the state-run Marketplaces, and 3.4 million on HealthCare.gov.

“The vast majority were able to lower their costs even further by getting tax credits, making a difference in the bottom lines of so many families,” HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said in a statement. “Interest in the Marketplace has been strong during the first month of open enrollment. We still have a ways to go and a lot of work to do before February 15, but this is an encouraging start.”

A third of the 3.4 million people selecting plans on the federal website were younger than 35 years of age, which is up from 29% in the early months of last year’s open enrollment period. Of the plan selections made on HealthCare.gov, more than half (52%) were people signing up for the first time, according to HHS.

Overall, from the day open enrollment began on November 15 through to December 26, 7.1 million people have used the exchanges to get health coverage. Average wait time for the federal Marketplace’s call center was down to 2 seconds during the week of December 20-26, which is down from nearly a 9-minute average since the beginning of open enrollment.