More Americans are gaining access to health insurance coverage, as the most recent open enrollment period on Healthcare.gov is slowly coming to a close at the end of 2014. According to recent data from the Department of Health and Human Services, almost 2.5 million consumers have chosen plans since the enrollment period opened, and more than 1 million Americans signed up for these health exchanges in just one week, ending on Dec. 12.

The HHS explained in a press release that the department expected consumer interest to surge as the Dec. 15 deadline for open enrollment inched closer on the calendar.

"I am pleased with the response to date on Open Enrollment, but we know we still have a lot of work to do between now and February 15.  People were ready to get covered and the vast majority are having a good consumer experience," HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a statement. "As of December 12, about 2.5 million consumers selected plans through the federal marketplace and large numbers of new and renewing consumers continued to shop through the weekend. This shows that millions of Americans want access to affordable quality health insurance and they came to the Marketplace to find it."

According to the release, the HHS is planning on producing monthly reports that will show the plan selection details from both federally facilitated and state-based marketplaces. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will also be issuing weekly data pertaining to the enrollment period.

What does this mean for health care providers?
Similar to last year's surge after the first enrollment period with Obamacare, 2015 should shape up to be a busy year for many doctors. This means that productivity and optimal solutions for medical billing services are a must heading into next year. The latest enrollment update did not include the 14 state-run exchanges, and the numbers also do not reflect the last few remaining days leading up to the Dec. 15 deadline. It could be possible that practice and hospital doctors in the U.S. may see even more patients than indicated by the already impressive HHS numbers.

Patient insurance verification will undoubtedly become an administrative burden for many practices, as there are many more Americans with access to health care. Providers should be ready to take on this influx with the best medical billing software to handle their insurance verification and coding needs following open enrollment.