ACA exchange enrollment dropped by less-than-expected 3.7%

09 February, 2018, 08:26 | Author: Conrad Doyle
  • Credit Google Street View

But in a marked contrast, two-thirds of the marketplaces run by states instead of the federal government saw increased enrollment between 2017 and 2018, including CT and NY. Also, insurers hiked premiums for many plans amid the uncertainty in Washington, D.C. and President Trump's elimination of funding for Obamacare's cost-sharing subsidies.

And they suggest surprising strength in many markets across the country, with consumers steadily signing up for health plans even as Trump and his Republican congressional allies derided the markets as crumbling and unaffordable.

The modest dip in sign-ups shows the importance of the Affordable Care Act to consumers, advocates argue.

That in large part reflects extensive efforts in many of these states to market health coverage, lengthen enrollment periods and conduct aggressive outreach campaigns to attract younger, healthier consumers who are critical to insurance markets.

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About 1.5 million Californians signed up for insurance through Covered California during the three-month open enrollment period that ended January 31st.

Sign-ups fell 5.3% in the 34 states that leave enrollment entirely to the federal exchange, healthcare.gov. In the five state-based marketplaces using the Healthcare.gov platform, enrollment increased by an average of 1 percent. Enrollment isn't final until consumers pay their first month's premium.

Rhode Island (12.1%), Kentucky (10.4%), and Washington State (7.6%) saw the largest share increases in signups, while Louisiana (-23.5%), West Virginia (-19.5%), and Arizona (-15.6%) had the largest drop in shares of signups.

They have been buffeted for much of the previous year by uncertainty over their future, with insurers in some areas raising rates steeply or exiting markets altogether.

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Only four states - California, Idaho, Maryland and Vermont - saw sign-ups slip.

State officials pointed to an increase in the number of new customers enrolling through Covered California and said that some returning consumers instead bought plans directly from insurers. He highlighted that almost 390,000 new consumers signed up for coverage, an increase of 5% over the prior year.

The outlook for next year, however, remains unclear.

Covered California was created under former President Barack Obama's health law.

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Many states carried by Trump in 2016 also saw respectable sign-ups, including Florida, Texas, and Georgia.

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