A New Obamacare Mystery: How Many Uninsured People Signed Up For New Coverage?


The fine folks at HHS released some new data on Obamacare signups today. Quick stats: 8 million people signed up; 34 percent are under age 35; and 54 percent are female. But here’s the head scratcher:

Of the 5.45 million people who selected a Marketplace plan through the [federal exchange]….5.18 million (95 percent) applied for financial assistance and were required to answer a question about their health insurance coverage.  Of these 5.18 million who applied for financial assistance and selected in a plan, 695,011 (13 percent) indicated that they had coverage at the time of application.

So this means that on the federal exchange, about 4.5 million people signed up who were previously uninsured. If we figure a somewhat lower rate for the 2.6 million who signed up via state exchanges, you can add about 2 million to that number.

In other words, in total, the exchanges signed up about 6.5 million people who were previously uninsured. This is far, far higher than previous estimates of about 3 million or so. I’m not sure what to make of this given the amount of survey data that produced the smaller figure. Perhaps it’s a difference in what counts as uninsured? Or a difference in how people respond to pollsters vs. how they respond to an official question on an application. Hard to say. The full HHS report is here, and it acknowledges the different estimates but provides no guesses about why they vary so widely.

For now, just take this as a bit of a mystery. In a month or two we’ll probably have much firmer data on all this stuff.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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