An estimated 9 to 10 million people will sign up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act in 2015, according to a report released by the Department of Health and Human Services.
The estimate is well below the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) projection in April that 13 million people would enroll - and pay their healthcare premiums through the marketplaces next year. The next Affordable Care Act open enrollment period starts Saturday and ends Feb. 15, 2015.
Hospitals are expected to save $5.7 billion in uncompensated care costs this year because of the Act, with those found in states that have expanded Medicaid projected to save up to $4.2 billion of the total, according to an HHS report. Uncompensated care includes healthcare providers sum of bad debt and charity care at cost.
The report is based on surveys from several state hospital associations and financial reports from hospital operators including Tenet Healthcare and HCA Holdings. They show that Medicaid expansion has reduced the number of patients who cannot pay their bills, said Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of Health and Human Services.
Future Affordable Care Act projections from the CBO include that enrollment could increase to 25 million people by 2017.
"CBO estimates that enrollment will ramp up to that steady state in just over three years, which generates an estimate of 13 million enrollees in 2015, 24 million in 2016, and 25 million thereafter," according to the report. "If one extends CBOs ramp-up from three years to four or five years (which is more consistent with experience in the programs mentioned above), the estimate of 2015 marketplace enrollment becomes approximately 11.5 million or approximately nine million, respectively."