The U.S. government aims to extend health care services to more people as officials announced on Tuesday, Sept. 22 their plan to hasten Obamacare enrollment efforts among uninsured Americans.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will soon begin its third open enrollment period and according to authorities, they will be targeting eligible uninsured citizens in Chicago, Miami, North New Jersey and in the two Texas cities, Houston and Dallas. Although the program seeks to provide services to all, officials said their focus would be on these top five target areas.
The Obama administration is looking at 10.5 million Americans to participate in the enrollment, which will run from Nov. 1, 2015 to Jan. 31, 2016.
"Over all, this open enrollment period is going to be tougher than last year," said Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in a statement made at the Howard University Hospital. Majority of the uninsured have already signed up, narrowing down the number of those who still do not have healthcare coverage. Moreover, she said that with the improving economy of the nation, more individuals may be covered under employer plans.
By the end of 2015, the government expects to have about 9.1 million people to have active medical coverages across the marketplace, said Burwell. The "marketplace" is the term used to pertain to the state and federal exchanges that allow people to obtain insurance.
The number of insured Americans have plummeted from 10.2 million towards the end of March 2015 to about 9.9 million before June 2015 closed. Some insurance holders were not able to pay their premium dues and some lack the ability to answer citizenship and immigration questions.
In Burwell's statement, she also mentioned three key rationales that may deem the 2016 insurance enrollment scheme to be more challenging. Among the stated reasons include: people who have the wavering desire to have an insurance have already enrolled, who are having a hard time to balance insurance bills and household budget and lastly, most of the uninsured are young adults, who may not strongly see the importance of medical insurance yet.
According to reports, almost 50 percent of the uninsured but eligible individuals are aged 18-34 years old. Approximately one-third of them belong to minority groups with Hispanics, African-Americans and Asian-Americans comprising 19 percent, 14 percent and 2 percent of the population respectively.
Nearly 40 percent of the uninsured citizens are earning about 139-250 percent of the poverty level set by feds, which amounts to approximately $34,000 to $61,000 annually for a family of four. With this, they are eligible for tax credits to aid them in paying for premiums and obtain discounts to decrease their co-payments and other miscellaneous fees.
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