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Half Or More Of Obamacare Enrollees In Kansas And Missouri Are New

At least half of Kansans and Missourians who signed up for 2015 health insurance through the Affordable Care Act insurance marketplaces are new consumers, data released Tuesday show.

Of the 102,087 Missourians who chose a marketplace plan from Nov. 15 through Dec. 15, 50 percent are new and 50 percent have reenrolled, according to the figures from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Of the 39,023 Kansans who enrolled in the same period, 53 percent are new and 47 percent have reenrolled.

Altogether, the government said, more than 6.5 million people nationwide had signed up as of Dec. 26 through the federally run health exchange, Healtcare.gov, for 2015 health coverage.

The actual enrollment count is likely to be higher because most states have not reported complete information on reenrollments, HHS said. And the figures do not include people who enrolled through state-operated exchanges in states like New York and California.

At this time last year, when Healthcare.gov was plagued with technical glitches, only 1.4 million people had signed up for health coverage.

Eighty-nine percent of the Missouri enrollees and 80 percent of the Kansas enrollees were eligible for federal tax subsidies that reduce their premiums, according to the HHS data.

A pending lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court has challenged the legality of the subsidies, arguing that the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, extends them only to people signing up for coverage through state-run exchanges.

Only 13 states operate their own exchanges. Both supporters and critics of the Affordable Care Act agree a decision favoring the plaintiffs could prove a fatal blow to the law.

Dec. 15 was the deadline to sign up for coverage starting on Jan. 1. The open enrollment period ends on Feb. 15 for coverage beginning March 1.

Dan Margolies, editor of the Heartland Health Monitor team, is based at KCUR.

Dan Margolies has been a reporter for the Kansas City Business Journal, The Kansas City Star, and KCUR Public Radio. He retired as a reporter in December 2022 after a 37-year journalism career.
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