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Success By the Numbers: 2016 Open Enrollment

Sylvia Mathews Burwell
February 4, 2016
Washington, D.C.

We again see that the ACA is helping millions of people, and has become a crucial part of health care in America.


Open Enrollment for 2016 is over, and we are happy to report its success.

As of February 1, 12.7 million Americans selected affordable, quality health plans for 2016 coverage through the marketplaces. In addition, about 400,000 people signed up on the New York and Minnesota marketplaces for coverage through the Basic Health Program during this Open Enrollment. These totals exceeded our expectations.

Our HealthCare.gov customer base continues to show strong growth. We enrolled 4 million new people in the HealthCare.gov states, and this does not include new plan selections in the State-based Marketplaces. It’s clear that Marketplace coverage is a product people want and need.

And as the Affordable Care Act has taken effect, more that 17.6 million Americans gained coverage through late last summer. More than 90 percent of Americans are insured. That’s the first time this has ever been true. While we won’t know how this season’s signups will precisely impact the uninsured rate until later in the year, it’s clear that, with these 4 million, people who are new to Medicaid, and the improving economy, we will continue to make progress.

We again see that the ACA is helping millions of people, and has become a crucial part of health care in America.

The Marketplace Exceeding Expectations in Critical Ways

The Marketplace also exceeded my expectations in critical ways. More than ever, our customers were smarter and more engaged and they expressed satisfaction with their coverage. 

For example, this year, 61 percent of our new enrollees signed up early for January 1 coverage.  Instead of waiting until the last moment, as we saw in previous years, about 2.4 million people signed up by the first deadline because they wanted coverage to start as soon as possible.

This shows us that this coverage matters to people, that they are taking control of their health care and they understand the value of every day that they are covered. And it also means that people are paying their premiums for a full year, instead of starting in March.

We also found that HealthCare.gov customers continue to be highly engaged, loyal and educated shoppers.

About 7 in 10 returning consumers came back to HealthCare.gov to actively select a new plan. Last year, about half of returning consumers actively selected a plan. This is a higher number of active returning customers than we expected.

More than 4.1 million customers used HealthCare.gov’s search tools to find out if doctors or prescriptions were covered – yet another sign of the seriousness and time they put into their decisions – and a sign that these tools were useful to them.

Additionally, 5.6 million 2015 customers are back and enrolled in 2016, even after subtracting issuer and individual cancellations that occurred during Open Enrollment.  This is an indication of satisfaction in the Marketplace. 

Finally, some have questioned whether young people would enroll, and they are. This year, we have 2.7 million customers ages 18 to 34, and the percentage of new customers in that age range is higher than last year, while the overall percentage of plan selections for customers that age remains stable.

Marketplace consumers are educated about their options, serious about finding the right plan, and satisfied with the coverage they get. They rely on the Marketplace, and we trust that they will continue to come back, shop and purchase plans in the future.  


I want to end on a personal note. And that is to say how proud and appreciative I am of our team. From our Exchange Operations Center, to the Deltas of Dallas, to No Limit Larry in Charlotte, to elected officials, hospitals, small businesses, community centers, and navigators all over this country—I have been lucky to be a part of a dedicated team.

Signing up 12.7 million people is an incredible undertaking, especially considering the progress we’ve made to bring down the number of uninsured in years past. But it’s worth the work. Because, for many of those 12.7 million, insurance wasn’t something they could count on prior to the Affordable Care Act. So many were shut out because of sicknesses or finances or bad luck…but thanks to the ACA, we’re changing that.

Marketplace insurance is something Americans want and need. And that’s what they tell me, like Joelisa [JO-leesa] in Milwaukee, Carl in Houston, Judith in Charlotte, Maria in Tampa, or Vaughn in Atlanta. This law is changing their lives for the better. With affordable, quality health insurance, we are giving them the health and financial security they want and need.

So, I want to give my personal thank you to everyone who worked on this effort. I’m extremely proud of your work and our results. 

With that, I’ll turn it over to two of our team’s hardest working folks, Andy Slavitt and Kevin Counihan.

Content created by Speechwriting and Editorial Division 
Content last reviewed on February 4, 2016