Obamacare Only Enrolled 1.4 Million Previously Uninsured Individuals

Healthcare.gov / AP

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Obamacare has reportedly enrolled 7.1 million individuals since its exchanges opened in October. However, according to a recently released RAND report, just 1.4 million of those individuals were previously uninsured.

Avik Roy of Forbes reports:

Last week, I wrote about an article in the Los Angeles Times, on a then-as-yet unpublished report from the RAND Corporation. The report indicated that only one-third of Obamacare’s purported 7.1 million exchange sign-ups were from the previously uninsured. But Noam Levey, the author of the Times article, didn’t disclose RAND’s actual findings as to the actual number of previously uninsured exchange enrollees. Well, now we know why. RAND published the full report yesterday; it indicates that Obamacare’s exchanges only enrolled 1.4 million previously uninsured individuals.

That 1.4 million is out of a total of 3.9 million exchange enrollees overall. That is to say, a little over a third of enrollees—36 percent—were previously uninsured. RAND’s figures don’t take into account the last few weeks of the Obamacare open enrollment period, and they contain a substantial margin of error, due to the study’s small sample size. (RAND surveyed 2,425 individuals aged 18 to 64; the 1.4 million figure has a margin of error of 700,000, meaning that there is a 95 percent probability that the actual number is between 700,000 and 2.1 million previously uninsured enrollees.)

If you assume that 80 percent of signer-uppers will eventually pay their premiums, the true number of previously uninsured exchange enrollees is likely closer to 2 million. That’s far from what the Congressional Budget Office has projected; the CBO estimated that 80 to 90 percent of the first-year enrollees would come from the previously uninsured population. Instead, it appears to be more like 24 to 36 percent.

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