Obamacare Sign-Ups Decline to 10.2 Million as Some Don’t Pay

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About 1.5 million people dropped off health insurance coverage rolls this year after failing to pay for policies they picked on the Obamacare marketplaces.

That left 10.2 million covered by Affordable Care Act policies as of March 31, up from 6.3 million at the end of 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said today. Eighty-five percent got subsidies to help them afford coverage.

President Barack Obama’s administration had expected that some people would pick plans and then not follow through, and set a goal to have at least 9.1 million people paying for coverage bought through government-run marketplaces this year.

“We’ve seen a historic reduction in the uninsured and consumers are finding the coverage they need at a price they can afford,” Sylvia Burwell, secretary of Health and Human Services, said in a statement.

Almost 6.4 million people in 34 states are getting government subsidies to help afford insurance on the federal exchange, Burwell’s department said today. Those people are at risk of losing their subsidies in a case the Supreme Court is set to decide this month.

That case, known as King vs. Burwell, centers on four words. The law says people qualify for tax credits to help pay insurance premiums when they buy a plan on an exchange “established by the state.”

Challengers say that phrase limits the tax credits to the 16 states that have set up their own markets, rather than relying on the U.S.-run one. Democrats who wrote the law say it was never their intent to deny subsidies to people in the federally run exchanges.

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