Where the ACA health insurance exchanges stand in 2018

on Apr13

12 April 2018 | 3:57 pm

Enrollment dips modestly

Enrollment in the ACA exchanges dipped just 3.3% to 11.8 million this year from 12.2 million in 2017. Leading up to open-enrollment, which ran from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15 in most states, experts were expecting sign-ups to fall sharply. The Trump administration slashed funding for open enrollment advertisements as well as enrollment assistance. It also gave shoppers less time to pick a plan, truncating the open-enrollment period to 45 days from the usual 90 days.

Weekly HealthCare.gov Enrollment

Source: CMS

Note: Data includes 39 states in 2018 and 2017, 38 states in 2016 and 37 states in 2015. Plan year 2018 data includes cancellations of auto-enrolled plans after the open-enrollment deadline, through December 23, 2017.

Katherine Hempstead, who directs the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s work on health insurance coverage, said the fact that just 400,000 fewer people enrolled shows “health insurance is a need-to-have for most people. People who are subsidized are going to really stick with it as much as possible.”

The final enrollment tally bodes well for health insurers, who are more likely to keep selling coverage if a large group of consumers sign up. Insurers have a harder time turning a profit when selling plans to a smaller, sicker pool of enrollees with few healthy consumers to balance out the risk. If they don’t make a profit, insurers aren’t likely to keep selling individual coverage. Several large national insurers, UnitedHealth, Aetna and Humana, have already called it quits or scaled back their participation.

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