Torres Says 1.9 Million Have Yet To Enroll In New Health Care Policies

After the Obama administration announced individual states could decide if health insurance companies could continue offering bare-bones plans that do not meet Affordable Care Act requirements, New Jersey officials decided companies in the state could continue offering those plans for a year. Now the health insurance companies are deciding whether or not to continue offering those policies. Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Jaime Torres told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that explanations concerning the cancellation of existing policies could have been better.

“If those plans had not been grandfathered and many of them have not been grandfathered, meaning that they were there when the law was signed,” said Torres. “Obviously they would be different, they cannot be renewed so we knew that was coming and I thought that we could have done a better job explaining that, but those millions of people will be able to enroll in the health insurance marketplace and many, many of them will be able to get subsidies.”

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield announced Tuesday that it would not renew policies that were canceled for Obamacare. Many of those policyholders have been looking for similar plans, but have found they come at a higher price. Torres said that at least half of those policyholders will be able to get subsidies to help them pay for coverage. There are also plans that don’t cover emergency room visits.

“There’s a whole variety of them but when we mention bare-bones are really bare-bones. Basically you’re paying for something and praying that you will not get sick,” said Torres.

Since the website for the Affordable Care Act launched, about 365,000 have enrolled in the health insurance marketplace, according to Torres. About 1.9 million have gone through the process and have yet to pick a plan to enroll.

There has been concern about how secure the website is for people enrolling in health plans. Torres said that the site is up and running and it’s secure. More than 400 glitches have been fixed, according to Torres.

Torres said that the website received about 3.7 million visits in two days after the site relaunched.

“As you know the website was again open for business again on Dec. 1, much improved,” said Torres. “So we know that these numbers are even increased a lot more when the new numbers are released at the end of December.”