enrollment to reach 10.5M by 2015, Avalere says

Enrollment in is expected to reach 10.5 million people by the end of next year, according to a new analysis from Avalere Health.

Although that's higher than the White House estimate of 9.1 million enrollees for the federal health insurance exchange enrollment, Avalere's projections are lower than the Congressional Budget Office's previous prediction of 13 million.

"Altogether, total 2015 enrollment is tracking between 9.5 and 11.5 million, including people renewing their plans," Avalere Vice President Caroline Pearson said in the analysis. All told, this would represent an increase of 40 percent to 70 percent over the 2013-2014 enrollment figure.

Avalere reached that conclusion based on three factors:

Uninsured demographics: For the 2015 enrollment period, insurers are signing up the harder-to-reach populations. In order for enrollment growth to continue, the government and insurers must consider signing up more healthy individuals, young adults, higher-income individuals and Hispanics. That's why insurers have been thinking outside of the box to boost Hispanic enrollment.

Low public awareness: Recent polls have shown that many consumers aren't aware of the exchange enrollment period or subsidies that they could be eligible to receive. What's more, Avalere said, there haven't been significant outreach campaigns, so continued enrollment will rely on proactive outreach and education efforts from the government and insurers.

Higher attrition: The 2014 exchange enrollment saw a 16 percent attrition rate; the initial enrollment figure of 8 million people in April dropped to 6.7 million people who were still signed up by October. Based on the amount of people who dropped out of exchange plans last year, Avalere said enrollment will fall below expectations if a similar amount of people disenroll or fail to pay their premiums this year.

According to the most recent statement from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), open enrollment stood at nearly 2.5 million as of Friday, Dec. 12. This outpaces last year considerably, according to the Washington Post--only 2.2 million people had signed up after the first three months of last year's glitch-filled open enrollment period.

HHS wasn't able to provide a final figure for how many people enrolled by Monday, Dec. 15, which was the deadline for receiving coverage that begins on Jan. 1, 2015. However, an administration official told the Post that the call center received about 1 million calls on Monday.

To learn more:
- here's the Avalere Health analysis
- read the HHS statement
- read the Washington Post article