Video: Deadline for Affordable Care approaching
BILOXI -- With the open enrollment deadline for health-care insurance looming, Kevin Counihan, CEO of the Federal Marketplace for the Affordable Care Act, was on the Coast on Tuesday to tour several enrollment sites.
The deadline is Jan. 31.
During a tour of Back Bay Mission's enrollment site, Counihan said he is encouraged by the enrollment so far.
"It's going well, but we still have a way to go," he said. "We are encouraging everyone to find coverage, be it through the website or through their employer. We just want to make sure people get health insurance."
Although the ACA was passed in 2010, the website healthcare.gov was rolled out in 2014 and it was initially plagued with problems.
Counihan said the issues with the website have been resolved.
"The website is working very well this year," he said. "It's stable, and it's working faster than before, even with 40 percent fewer servers. I think the question about stability of the system has been asked and answered."
According to CMS.gov, the website of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, about 94,000 Mississippi residents have enrolled since Nov. 1.
Counihan said premium increases have not hurt the enrollment numbers.
"We're into the program for two years now," he said. "If you look at our most-popular plan, the average increase has been 7.3 percent. The market is still evolving. I think we are seeing it may take four to five years for everything to stabilize."
The increase in premiums may be worth it in the long run, he said, as the penalty for not having health care is also increasing.
"The penalty for not buying insurance when it's affordable is going up this year," he said. "In 2016, the penalty will be a minimum of $695 per person or a percentage based on your household income."