Weekly Checkup

Can the Individual Mandate Help Enrollment Numbers Going Forward?

The individual mandate is one of the most heavily debated provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but there is evidence that it may be failing to serve its intended purpose. The ACA’s intention was to increase the number of people insured by assessing a tax penalty for those who fail to purchase insurance. During the last open enrollment period, 12.7 million people enrolled in health insurance—nearly 10 million less than originally projected,[1][2] and enrollment may not increase much more as a result of the individual mandate penalty after 2016. Premiums continue to climb in the individual marketplace—helped along by the ACA’s regulatory burden. Even if premiums increase at an optimistic annual rate of 6 percent, they will grow to be much higher than the mandate penalty faced by those who forego insurance.

[1] http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/03-30-healthcarelegislation.pdf

[2] https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2016-Fact-sheets-items/2016-02-04.html

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