They are tracking an estimate of the total number of signups for ACA-generated policies.
There are considerably more Medicaid enrollments compared to private purchases on the much-improved healthcare.gov website. Pennsylvania is only showing 11,800 enrollments—a number that has to be higher by now. If 4% of those are in Lancaster County, that’s about 500 people. It means I personally know 1% of them (and counseled them to go out and get a Marketplace policy).
The stories are being written about the handful of people for whom the Affordable Care Act isn’t, for some reason, working out. I saw one like that in the New York Times today. These are cases where people didn’t have good tax or financial advice, and they didn’t know to try and get their income under 400% of federal poverty level for 2012—as readers of my site knew to do! Also, the article misses the point that these people can still buy on the Marketplace, and then plan, if they can, to get their income under 400% FPL for 2014. What they are missing out on is the “advance” premium tax credit. It is 2014’s credit, being advanced now, starting in January.
There is another thing that is disappointing. People are misunderstanding what missing the initial enrollment period means. It’s great that the deadline to sign up was moved to Monday (December 23). But that’s only to assure January coverage. If you sign up on December 24, you get February coverage—not no coverage! The open enrollment period lasts through March 31 (for May coverage).
As this new way of obtaining health insurance becomes more and more “real” to the general public, I have a feeling that the program and the website are going to become much more popular. Since the main driver of ACA is that premium tax credit, tax preparers are going to get peppered with questions from the occasional client who needs guidance. How many really are ready? Clearly, quite a few were not ready in 2012 . . .