Nationwide Enrollment for Health Care Coverage Surged in December

American Indians & Alaska Natives may be exempt from participating in the Affordable Care Act coverage. Each individual should check with their tribal health officials.

American Indians & Alaska Natives may be exempt from participating in the Affordable Care Act coverage. Each individual should check with their tribal health officials.

WASHINGTON — After working out the bugs out of the website that proved problematic for those interested in enrolling for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, nationwide enrollment surged during December, according to top health officials in the Obama administration.

American Indians and Alaska Natives may be exempt from having to participate. Each individual should check with their tribal health officials to determine if you are required to participate.

Below are blog entries sent to the Native News Online late yesterday afternoon:

HHS Blog: A New Day in Health Care Coverage

By Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, Health and Human Services

January 1st marks not only the beginning of a New Year, but an exciting new day in health care as millions of Americans will now be able to access care, thanks to the coverage they found at the Health Insurance Marketplace. For many of the newly insured – people like Molly from Charlottesville, VA or Mark from Austin, TX – it will be the first time that they can enjoy the security that comes with health coverage.

For consumers whose Marketplace coverage begins on January 1, we’re doing everything we can to help ensure a smooth transition period. If consumers have questions about their new private insurance coverage, they can contact their insurance company directly. Consumers can log into their account on to find their insurer’s customer service line or browse through a directory on

Before you go to the doctor or pharmacy using your new insurance for the first time, check out this tip sheet, and make sure to:

  • Get your insurance card or a temporary card with your new plan’s information. If you don’t have your card yet, ask your insurance company to give you another way to confirm your coverage.
  • Make sure you know when your first premium payment is due and pay it by the due date;
  • Check to see which doctors and pharmacies are in your network.

And at your first visit:

  • Bring your insurance card with you to the doctor or pharmacy. If you don’t have a card, ask your doctor or pharmacy what other proof of insurance they may accept.
  • If you thought you enrolled in health coverage but aren’t showing up in the system, call your insurance company directly. If you don’t have your insurer’s contact information call the Marketplace Call Center (1-800-318-2596) and a trained representative can provide it to you.

We’ve also developed a number of consumer tips on to help people understand their new private insurance coverage. The topics include:

  • Make sure you’re covered. Consumers who think they’ve signed up for Marketplace health insurance, but haven’t heard from their insurance company can get help finding out if they’re covered.
  • Get prescription medication under your new plan. Marketplace health plans will help pay the cost of certain prescription medications. Consumers can get help finding out if their prescription is covered and how to apply for an exception if the medication is not currently covered by their plan.
  • Get medical care and find a doctor. Consumers can get help finding doctors and other health care providers covered by their new Marketplace plan.
  • Get emergency care. Consumers can get important information on utilizing emergency care, and making sure they know that their insurance company can’t charge more for emergency room services at an “out-of-network” hospital.
  • Appeal a health plan decision. Consumers have the right to appeal a decision when an insurance company refuses to pay for a specific treatment or service. We can help guide consumers through the appeals process.

As we continue to give consumers information to help them understand their new Marketplace coverage, we’re also continuing to work to ensure that every American who wants to enroll in Marketplace coverage by the end of the open enrollment period on March 31st, 2014, is able to do so—and enjoy the security and peace of mind that comes with having quality health coverage.

By Marilyn Tavenner, Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Since the beginning of open enrollment, millions of Americans are gaining access to health coverage–many for the very first time—thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

The most recent data indicate that more than 2.1 million people have enrolled in a private health insurance plan through the Federal and State-based Marketplaces since October 1.

Both states and the federal government have seen a surge in enrollment in December.  Our enrollment nearly doubled in days before the January 1 coverage deadline compared to the first weeks of the month.  Nationwide, including state and federal marketplaces, December enrollment so far is nearly 6 times that of October and November combined.

We expect these numbers to continue to grow through the end of March when open enrollment ends.

Additionally, 3.9 million Americans learned they’re eligible for coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in October and November.  These numbers include new eligibility determinations and some Medicaid and CHIP renewals.

We are encouraged that over 6 million people have been enrolled in Marketplace or Medicaid coverage since October 1, and will work to give millions more Americans the peace of mind that comes with health security in the months ahead.


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