FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 21, 2017
Contact: Erin Hemlin, firstname.lastname@example.org, 713.410.7241
Washington, D.C. – Today, the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services Administrator announced that 8.8 million consumers enrolled in coverage through healthcare.gov, nearly matching last year’s numbers. Consumers proactively took action to gain coverage by reaching out to local, in-person assistance and by contacting the healthcare.gov call center.
Consumer groups including Young Invincibles, the National Association of Health Access Assisters (NAHAA), and Planned Parenthood Federation of America worked through open enrollment to make consumer resources available around the country. They issued the following statements regarding this enrollment season:
“The strong enrollment numbers released today clearly show that consumers value coverage and are benefitting from the Affordable Care Act,” said Erin Hemlin at Young Invincibles. “Despite high levels of uncertainty and consumer confusion, millions of consumers successfully enrolled and will now have the peace of mind that comes with having health coverage.”
Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood added: “Having quality health insurance coverage means having access to the full range of health care services when you need them. This year, despite many barriers put in place by the Trump-Pence administration, 8.8 million consumers said loudly and clearly that they want coverage. Under the ACA we’ve seen incredibly demand for high quality health care plans, and this year is no exception.”
This year marked the shortest open enrollment period for the federally-facilitated marketplace to date, lasting half the length of the previous open enrolment periods. This year, the Trump administration also took steps to undermine enrollment by significantly cutting funding for outreach, education, marketing, and in-person assistance.
“Navigators and in-person assisters worked tirelessly to help consumers enroll in affordable, comprehensive coverage,” said Mark Diel, Chief Executive Officer of NAHAA. “Consumers have come to know and trust enrollment assisters, who have always played a critical role in connecting consumers to coverage. There is no doubt that the open enrollment period would not have been as successful without their help.”
That fact is further demonstrated by data available through the Get Covered Connector, an online appointment scheduling tool managed by Young Invincibles. Despite sever budget cuts and less stasff, nearly 40,000 appointments were made through the Connector. The appointment trend matches closely with the fast pace of enrollment throughout the six-week period; in fact, the trends from this open enrollment indicate that the number of appointments made this season likely would have met or even exceeded the number made during last year’s open enrollment, had this period lasted the full 12 weeks.
Enrollment is projected to increase more over the coming weeks, as consumers continue to enroll in coverage through state-based marketplaces that have extended their open enrollment periods beyond that of the federally-facilitated marketplace. Many consumers can also enroll through special enrollment periods (SEPs) following life-changing events. This includes a two-week SEP for those affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria as well as a SEP for consumers whose plans were discontinued. Coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program is year-round.
The National Association of Health Access Assisters, a project of the California Coverage and Health Initiatives, elevates, advances, and advocates for the Heath Access Assister profession. The Goal is to promote and support the work of our members who help individuals, children, and families gain, use, and retain high quality health care and coverage. For more information visit NAHAA.org.
The California Coverage and Health Initiatives is a statewide association of over 40 members. CCHI is the largest network of enrollment/ retention/ navigation entities in California. Our members have a 20+ year history of advocating for coverage for children and families and providing direct outreach, enrollment, and navigation services.