States That Didn’t Set Up Marketplaces See Surge In Health Plan Enrollment, Figures Show – The Washington Post

The numbers indicate a high demand for the insurance plans, even in states where political resistance was strongest. In Florida, for instance, where Republican Gov. Rick Scott (R) did not set up a state exchange or expand Medicaid, nearly 40percent of the eligible population has enrolled, according to a Washington Post analysis of the newly released data. Even as Republicans have continued to target Democrats who voted for the Affordable Care Act in competitive races, recent polling suggests that Americans, although not enthusiastic about the law, are not eager to repeal it. In a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll , 58percent of those surveyed said Congress should work to improve the law, while 35percent want lawmakers to work to repeal the law and replace it with something else. It also for the first time provided a look at the racial and ethnic breakdown of those signing up for private coverage on the federal marketplace. It found that enrollment was lower than hoped among Hispanics and whites but stronger than expected among blacks and Asians. The meaningfulness of the data is limited, however, because nearly a third of enrollees did not report their ethnicity, another optional question on the insurance application. In a teleconference with reporters Thursday, officials acknowledged that Hispanic enrollment was a weak spot. They blamed the numbers on a lack of familiarity among Latinos about the concept of health insurance and a skittishness on the part of people whose families have a mix of legal and illegal immigrants. Legal residents are permitted to receive benefits under the health-care law, while unlawful residents are not. The progress in enrolling African Americans and Latinos is an important first step forward in addressing disparities and access to coverage, Mayra Alvarez, associate director of the Office of Minority Health in the Department of Health and Human Services, told reporters.


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