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11 million sign up during ACA's second enrollment cycle


About 11.4 million Americans signed up for private health coverage under the Affordable Care Act's second open enrollment cycle, the White House announced.

About 11.4 million Americans are signed up for private health coverage under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the White House announced. 

“The big jump in enrollment through the federal and state-run healthcare exchanges signals the growing acceptance of the this new way of accessing healthcare coverage,” says Managed Healthcare Executive Editorial Advisor Don Hall, a former health plan CEO, principal, Delta Sigma LLC, in Littleton, Colo.

“It also underscores the importance of the upcoming Supreme Court ruling on states use of the federal exchange,” Hall says. “Should SCOTUS rule against federally run exchanges it could undermine the viability of the plans that most of these people have picked, throwing the a wrench into ACA.”

The latest numbers, which were higher than many expected, show that acceptance of health insurance exchanges is rising, according to said Lance Hood, senior director of marketing at Array Health.

"As the technology improves and the public gains a greater understanding for the process, the momentum will only continue to build," Hood says.

These numbers should encourage managed care executives to seriously consider investing in both public and private exchanges as important channels to enroll new customers, while retaining existing ones, according to Hood.

"Experts may disagree slightly on the future enrollment figures on both public and private exchanges, but the trends of a rise in healthcare retail, increased healthcare costs, and a greater awareness of how exchanges work, will make health insurance exchanges an increasingly attractive option for health insurers," he says.

NEXT: Insurers quietly launching e-commerce platforms


While there has been a lot of focus on the technology issues and challenging consumer experience related to HealthCare.gov, on the private exchange side, insurers have been quietly launching e-commerce platforms, according to Hood, "which give consumers an easy-to-use enrollment experience with choice and information. The rising awareness of health insurance, and healthcare in general, as a result of the Affordable Care Act, has allowed health insurers to lead the charge in addressing market demands for a positive online shopping and enrollment experience.

"At the end of the day, as with all industries, the consumer is king. In order for exchanges, both public and private, to be successful, they need to provide a brilliant consumer experience – one that is intuitive and helps the consumer find the plan that is right for him or her," Hood says. 

In a press release, the President said: "The Affordable Care Act is working. And I'll tell you, everywhere I go around the country, I'm meeting individuals who come up and thank me. How passionate they are about the difference it’s made in their lives, it really reminds me why we do all of this."

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