More Sign Up for Obamacare, Cost Estimate Goes Down

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Nearly 11.7 million people signed up for health insurance under Obamacare for this year, the administration says, and more are expected because of a break for people who didn’t realize they’d have to pay an extra tax if they don’t.

There’s a special enrollment period between March 15 and April 30 for people who missed the new rule that a tax kicks in this year for most people who go without health insurance.

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And the Congressional Budget Office says the program will cost less than originally forecast — $142 billion less over 10 years.

The Affordable Care Act provides generous subsidies for most people who buy individual private health insurance on exchanges run by states or the federal government. The CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation say the subsidies will be lower because insurance premiums are lower than previous estimates.

But the CBO says fewer people than expected will sign up on the exchanges — probably between 22 million and 24 million from 2017 through 2025. That’s 2-3 million less than previous estimates.


-- Maggie Fox