President Barack Obama held a conference call Thursday with thousands of supporters who are working to get people enrolled under the health care law so he could personally deliver the news that more than 6 million Americans have signed up through the federal and state exchanges.
The announcement appears to move the Obama administration past the Congressional Budget Office’s projection that 6 million people would enroll through the exchanges in 2014, an estimate that was revised down from 7 million in February after the troubled launch of the federal exchange on Oct. 1. But the number does not filter out those who haven’t paid their premiums, which would lower the total.
According to a readout from the White House, Obama while traveling in Italy hosted the call with “several thousand grass-roots volunteers, navigators and in-person assisters” who are helping individuals enroll. He also thanked them for their work and emphasized the importance of making further progress before open enrollment ends March 31, urging them to “leave no stone unturned.”
The White House said the federal exchange website had more than 1.5 million visits Wednesday while there were more than 430,000 calls into the call centers. Across the country, there are more than 27,000 people who are trained to help individuals sign up in their communities, the readout added.
Although open enrollment officially ends March 31, the administration announced earlier this week that people who began their applications before the deadline would have time to finish them next month. Federal officials also released guidance on circumstances for special enrollment periods that could allow some individuals to sign up after March 31 in an open-ended timeframe.
The next open enrollment period is scheduled to begin Nov. 15 for coverage beginning Jan. 1.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.