Photo by Whitehouse.gov

The Affordable Care Act is working “a little better than anticipated,” as U.S. President Barack Obama announced this week, for 11.4 million reasons.

That’s the number of Americans who signed up for private health coverage through the ACA’s Health Insurance Marketplace between Nov. 15, 2014, and Feb. 15, 2015, the Marketplace’s second open-enrollment period. The Department of Health and Human Services announced the total number of people who signed up for or renewed their health plans yesterday, along with other statistics including:

  • 25 percent more health plan issuers — insurance companies, services or organizations — competed for business in the 2015 Marketplace than in 2014;
  • 87 percent of Marketplace consumers qualified for tax credits to make their monthly premiums more affordable in the first two months of open enrollment;
  • consumers chose between an average of 40 health plans; and
  • Healthcare.gov consumers needed to view 16 screens to complete an online application for health insurance, down from 76 from the first open-enrollment period.

“The Affordable Care Act is working; it’s working a little bit better than we anticipated,” Obama said. “This kind of outreach at a grassroots level, in combination with the very real competition and the number of insurers that are going into markets that were previously underserved, is driving down prices and improving quality. This really was the original vision of the Affordable Care Act.”

If you missed the Feb. 15 deadline to sign up for health coverage through the Marketplace, it may not be too late. Consumers can visit HealthCare.gov or call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 to find out if they qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, and apply online or by phone.