As of February 22, a total of 207,349 Wisconsinites have enrolled in private health insurance through the public exchange, www.healthcare.gov. This total is up slightly from an estimate released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shortly after the close of the annual open enrollment period in February. The total also represents a 59% increase in enrollment over last year, when approximately 130,000 people in Wisconsin signed up on the public exchange during open enrollment.
Nearly a third of the people who enrolled in coverage last year signed up for a different plan this year. Prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, consumers in the individual market often found it difficult to change plans due to underwriting restrictions on pre-existing conditions. It is hoped that by allowing individuals to shop for coverage on the public exchange each year without these restrictions that the competition for members will push insurance companies to keep cost increases to a minimum.
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