Obamacare's 95 percent solution: automatic reenrollment
Obamacare has a big head start in improving enrollment in 2015. An estimated 95 percent of people signed up for Obamacare through the federal health exchange will be automatically reenrolled with the same tax subsidies.
The vast majority of people who enrolled in Obamacare on the federal health exchange will be both automatically re-enrolled in the health plans they selected in 2014 and automatically receive the subsidies to help pay for that insurance that they got this year, officials revealed Thursday.
A senior federal official told CNBC that an estimated 95 percent of HealthCare.gov enrollees—some 5.1 million people—will be signed up for the 2015 plan year and receive the same tax credits without having to do anything.
Granting not only automatic re-enrollment to those people but also their same tax credits to offset the costs of that insurance without making them go through the process again will give the federal exchange a massive head start on its goal of exceeding 2014 enrollment levels.
It could also alleviate the technological strain on the federal Obamacare exchange when open enrollment begins this fall.
People who are automatically re-enrolled in their current HealthCare.gov plan can pick another plan during open enrollment, which begins Nov. 15 and runs through Feb. 15, 2015.
"Consumers in the federally-facilitated marketplace will receive notices from the marketplace informing them how to update their information to get a tailored and updated tax credit that keeps up with any income changes," the Health and Human Services Department said in a press release.
"Consumers will receive information from their health insurance company about the premium and the amount they are eligible to save on their monthly bill close to the beginning of the open-enrollment period, when they will be able to take action should they choose to do so."
The federal government in March 2012 had said that it would have automatic re-enrollment for people in HealthCare.gov-sold plans unless they opted out of that function.
On Thursday, officials for the first time revealed that a check of income-related records had showed that under a streamlined process outlined in a new rule the number of people eligible for both plan automatic renewal and subsidy renewal was 95 percent of federal exchange enrollees.
Nearly 90 percent of the 5.4 million people who bought health plans via HealthCare.gov qualified for such subsidies because their income fell between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level.