More than 6 million Americans have enrolled in private insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or “Obamacare,” since Oct. 1.
HealthCare.gov, the website for signing up for plans through ACA, experienced technical difficulties when it first opened to the public in October. The website functioned properly beginning in early December and did not really experience other technical issues until Monday afternoon, which were mended within a few hours.
Robert Alberts, a senior social work major, was surprised that so many people had enrolled in lieu of these original technical issues faced by healthcare.gov.
“I didn’t expect their IT to really hold while people were enrolling because they don’t really upgrade their technology much,” Alberts said.
The Congressional Budget Office initially estimated that 7 million people would enroll by the March 31 deadline, but reduced the estimate to 6 million after the site’s premiere technical issues ensued. However, enrollment has neared the reduced 6-million prediction as Monday’s deadline approached.
Two weeks ago, enrollment was only around 5 million people. Since then, a string of celebrity endorsements through Twitter and Facebook, and a comedic promotional video with actor Zach Galifianakis on Funnyordie.com, have helped draw more publicity for ACA and its “get covered” tagline.
A lot of the promotion for ACA was geared toward younger generations. According to the White House’s official report about enrollment in February, people between the ages of 18 and 34 comprised 25 percent of signups. They were hoping to see this age group make up 40 percent of signups by Monday’s deadline.
According to Bloomberg News, the higher the percentage of younger people who enroll is expected to be a key factor in reducing future premium increases, or monthly costs. This is because an influx of younger, potentially healthier people who enroll in plans would require fewer medical services than older generations.
While Americans across all political party lines have mixed feelings about the benefits of ACA, Alberts believes the act is important.
“I’m extremely happy that people are signing up and are utilizing this because I think it’s incredibly important to remember that health care should not be based on your employment or ability to afford it,” Alberts said.
Some of the arguments against ACA are that some Americans believe it will cause health care costs to increase or that health care should be left to the private sector, rather than the federal government.
The answer to whether or not more Americans agree with these opposing arguments, or if ACA will benefit the health of our country by requiring all Americans to have health care coverage, will surface upon the release of final enrollment numbers and official health care reports throughout the year.