Obamacare enrollment is down 11 percent from last year

  • Omaha | by: Paulina Firozi |
  • 2018-12-08
With just over a week now left in the sign-up period for 2019 Obamacare plans, new figures show enrollment is down compared with last year. Overall, sign-ups through HealthCare.gov, the federal Affordable Care Act exchange, are down 11 percent through the first five weeks compared with the same time last year — and experts say final numbers are on track to be lower overall at the end of enrollment.It's still possible for a surge in the final days, as people wait until the last minute to choose health-care plans for 2019.

But experts who have been following ACA enrollment closely say several factors may have contributed to an overall drop, including some of the Trump administration's policies that Democrats have warned could have a negative impact on insurance marketplaces. A combination of those efforts, including a drop in federal spending on advertising and outreach, the repeal of the individual mandate, and the move to open the door to alternative health plans, as well as factors such as less media coverage surrounding enrollment and lower unemployment rates, could all be blamed.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Thursday that from Nov. 1 to Dec. 1., a total of 3,198,163 people had selected ACA exchange plans. That's down from 3,604,440 at the fifth week of enrollment last year.

Josh Peck, who served as Healthcare.gov's chief marketing officer under the Obama administration and is now a co-founder of Get America Covered, published an analysis predicting total enrollment on the federal exchange would fall by 800,000.

There are also fewer people enrolling for the first-time in the marketplaces.

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