ACA Enrollment Figures For 2018 Only Slightly Lower Than This Year’s, CMS Says.
This morning, there is extensive coverage of data released by the Trump Administration which show enrollment figures for Affordable Care plans for 2018 are comparable to those for 2017. Most outlets say the numbers “defy” expectations, given the shorter open enrollment season, and the fact that the Administration slashed funding for ACA outreach efforts.
On its front page, the New York Times (12/21, A1, Pear, Subscription Publication) reports that on Thursday, the Trump Administration said “8.8 million people had signed up for health insurance through the federal marketplace, only slightly lower than last year’s numbers when the open enrollment period was twice as long and heavily advertised.” The article says this figure “essentially defied President Trump’s assertion that ‘Obamacare is imploding’ and could re-energize the efforts by both parties for and against President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement.” The piece adds that CMS Administrator Seema Verma commented on the data, saying “her agency had done a great job to ‘make this the smoothest experience for consumers to date.’”
The Washington Post (12/21, Goldstein) reports that Verma tweeted the number, which “represents an unexpectedly robust turnout,” and is comparable to “the 9.2 million consumers who got coverage for 2017 during a three-month sign-up period that ended last January.” The article adds that the 8.8 million sign-ups “include an unknown number of people who currently have ACA health plans and were automatically renewed by the government just after the Dec. 15 deadline because they had not selected insurance for next year.” The piece says that number does not include enrollment figures from states which manage their own ACA exchanges, “or several states in the federal exchange where enrollment seasons were extended until late December because they were affected by hurricanes and other major storms during the fall.”
The Los Angeles Times (12/21, Levey) reports that while the total number of sign-ups is incomplete, the data suggest “enrollment on the HealthCare.gov insurance marketplace…will nearly equal the 2017 total despite uncertainty in the markets, a shorter enrollment period and steps by the administration that appeared aimed at discouraging people from signing up.” In fact, “with sign-ups continuing in all or parts of 17 states, including the nation’s largest, total enrollment may ultimately surpass the 2017 tally.”
The Wall Street Journal (12/21, Mathews, Subscription Publication) reports that total enrollment for ACA plans through HealthCare.gov fell slightly this year. However, the four-percent drop was much smaller than experts had predicted. The article also mentions that sign-ups continue in several states which have indicated that enrollment is higher compared to last year.