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Obamacare hits original sign-up goal

By Crissinda Ponder · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Posted: 6 pm ET

More than 7 million people have enrolled in health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration announced Tuesday.

This puts the tentative total of enrollees above the administration's initial goal of 7 million, which was also the Congressional Budget Office's first estimate of how many people would gain coverage in 2014. The CBO later reduced its projection to 6 million people following HealthCare.gov's technologically challenged rollout.

"Under this law, the share of Americans with insurance is up and the growth of health care costs is down," President Barack Obama said during an event in the White House Rose Garden.

Millions more gain other coverage

The president added that more than 3 million Americans younger than age 26 have gained coverage under their parents' health plans and that millions more are now covered through Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, aka CHIP.

The final tally of Americans insured through the president's signature health care law won't be available for a while, for a few reasons. One reason is there is no deadline to apply for Medicaid or CHIP.

Another is that, even though the open enrollment period officially ended Monday, the administration is giving an unspecified amount of extra time to those who had trouble finalizing their application because of recurring exchange glitches.

Some states -- with their own health insurance exchanges -- are being clearer about how much slack they're willing to extend. Both California and New York are giving residents until April 15 to enroll in a plan, allowing the additional time due to customers experiencing long waits in line or over the phone and problems navigating the websites.

Critics still not silenced

Obama again expressed his frustration with opponents of the health care law and said that there was "no good reason to go back" to the health insurance system that existed before the ACA.

"The debate over repealing this law is over; the Affordable Care Act is here to stay," he said.

Still, Republicans are determined to dismantle the law because it "continues to wreak havoc on American families, small businesses and our economy," according to a statement from House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

"… The problem was never just about the website -- it's the whole law. Millions of Americans are seeing their premiums rise, not the lower prices the president promised," Boehner said.

Still fuzzy on the facts of health insurance? Read our primer on how much coverage you should carry.

Follow me on Twitter: @CrissiPonder.

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