Top Health Insurer Anticipates Extension of Obamacare Open Enrollment

by Sterling Beard

One of the largest health insurers in the United States said yesterday that it anticipates the open-enrollment period for Obamacare will be extended beyond the current March 31 deadline, but that if the law goes ahead as scheduled, the company will only get half the number of enrollees it expected.

In a conference call with investors, Humana’s chief operating officer, Jim Murray, said that the company’s “assumption is that there will be an extension to the open enrollment period.”

He went on to say that Humana had previously anticipated signing up 500,000 people through the exchanges, but is now cutting that estimate in half, perhaps down to just 200,000. “Again, it all is an impact of how long the enrollment period stays open,” he said.

Extending the open-enrollment period is generally opposed by the insurance industry: Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for an industry lobbying group, told Congressional Quarterly that extending enrollment or delaying the individual mandate “could have a destabilizing effect on insurance markets,” and the American Academy of Actuaries has written a letter to Capitol Hill warning legislators that either action “could have significant implications for health insurance coverage and costs.”

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