A new independent analysis projects that fewer Americans will sign up for private health coverage through Obamacare by the end of the open enrollment period, March 31, than has been projected by the Congressional Budget Office.
Avalere Health, an independent consulting firm, issued its projection after the Obama administration released new data showing that 4.2 million Americans had enrolled in coverage as of March 1. They now project 5.4 million enrollees by the end of March.
The Congressional Budget Office released a new projection last month, anticipating 6 million sign-ups by March 31. Each of the new estimates is well below the original 7 million projection made by the CBO before HealthCare.gov’s disastrous launch.
The Avalere analysis is based on Obamacare enrollment numbers thus far as well as patterns in Medicare Part D enrollment when that program debuted. The full methodology is available here.
Administration officials have been cautious about pegging the law’s success to any particular number since the problematic rollout of HealthCare.gov. Pressed by reporters to say if the administration expected to reach the CBO’s new 6 million estimate, CMS spokeswoman Julie Bataille said on Tuesday on a conference call that the law’s success would be “millions of Americans” enrolling in coverage.
She declined to be more specific. Administration officials and outside health policy experts have long said that enrollment should spike in March as the final deadline approaches.