Science

After shortened period, Obamacare enrollment for 2018 dipped slightly

After shortened period, Obamacare enrollment for 2018 dipped slightly”

But the higher-than-expected sign-ups ran counter to President Donald Trump's pronouncements this year that the law was "dead", "finished" and "gone", as well as his explicitly stated plan to "let Obamacare fail" in order to force Democrats to back its repeal.

This year's signup period came with significant hurdles.

Last year, 9.2 million Americans signed up for Obamacare individual health insurance plans through Healthcare.gov, or 400,000 fewer than this year. The Obama administration argued that the federal government could simply order Americans to purchase a product (health insurance) because the Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce.

An additional 2.5 million people have also enrolled through state-run insurance marketplaces, some of which allow sign-ups through the coming weeks. These folks were not included in Thursday's figures. Repealing the individual mandate won't affect exchange premiums for 2018, since open enrollment has concluded in most states and rates are otherwise set. Those affected by the hurricanes in several Southern states, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and those who had their plans discontinued by their insurer also have a little more time to sign up. The county's uninsured rate dropped to less than 7 percent from 14 percent previously, according to Barbie Robinson, the county's health director. That means the final tally potentially could show an increase over past year.

Add another layer of uncertainty to the future of the Affordable Care Act, known commonly as Obamacare.

"The reason it was written into the Affordable Care Act was to insure that there was a younger, healthier risk mix, so young people had some incentive to get into the marketplace".

"Today's enrollment numbers make clear that the American people want access to high-quality, affordable health insurance coverage, and they want Congress and the administration to stop playing games with our health-care system", said Rep.

Beyond shortening the enrollment period by half, the administration cut by 90 percent federal spending on advertising and other outreach activities to urge consumers to sign up.

Even with the uncertainly surrounding Obamacare, a surge of people signed up at the last minute.

The Trump administration was quick to take credit for the surprising number of enrollees. CMS said more than 4.1 million people, including those who automatically enrolled, signed up in the final week.

That's helped minister Wiley Lowe, who watched his monthly premiums go up from about $350 a month before than ACA to what was going to be about $1,600 a month for the single father and his two children in 2018.

Last year, lots of people heard that the state had expanded Medicaid, but many working-class residents didn't realize they qualified, she said. California and NY, for instance, are letting consumers enroll through January 31.

CMS Administrator tweeted "This year CMS took a more cost effective outreach approach, spending just over $1 per enrollee on outreach and education for Exchange coverage compared to almost $11 per enrollee last year".

Final open enrollment numbers for the Obamacare federal marketplace were surprisingly strong, with 8.8 million customers selecting a plan by the sign-up deadline, officials said Thursday.

But on the other hand, she added, "there will still be a market that's mostly the same as previous year".

Ultimately, that surge materialized with more than 4.1 million Americans selecting Obamacare plans through Healthcare.gov between December 10 and 15.



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