Washington, DC – Today, CMS released the final weekly snapshot of enrollment numbers through the 39 HealthCare.gov states, showing that 8.5 million people enrolled in coverage during the latest six-week open enrollment period. That means more than 368,000 fewer Americans enrolled this year compared to last year’s open enrollment period – a drop of 4 percent, a much smaller drop than was anticipated. Notably, first time enrollments decreased significantly, compared to enrollments by returning consumers, who rely less on proactive outreach to educate them about the market.
In response to today’s ruling, Erin Hemlin, Director of Training and Consumer Education for Young Invincibles, issued the following statement:
“Today’s release confirms what consumer health advocates have known for years: the American people want high-quality, affordable health coverage and are utilizing the health insurance marketplace to get it. Americans are not willing to return to a time when their health status or income might be a death sentence, even in the face of the seemingly endless politically-motivated attacks from the Trump Administration against the marketplace.
Instead of sufficiently funding outreach, enrollment, and advertising efforts to properly educate consumers, the Trump administration cut advertising by 90 percent and local help by 84 percent over the last two years. Today’s announcement tells the same story: While renewals stayed steady, new enrollment dropped significantly, down 15 percent compared to last year. This is a clear sign that potential new shoppers – many likely to be young adults – didn’t know about the marketplace in part due to the administration’s cuts to outreach and advertising.
Increased stability in the market, more plan choice, and an abundance of low-cost plans should have been a perfect recipe for increased enrollment, but the President’s sabotage of the ACA has slowed progress towards getting every American the coverage they need. To ensure that the 30 million remaining uninsured Americans can also find coverage, we need robust support from the Trump Administration, not partisan attacks and slashes to funding.
While state, local, and private entities generously stepped up to support enrollment efforts this year, they simply cannot be a solution to replace adequate federal funding. With sufficient funding for these programs, we could be talking about a sustained increase in enrollment rather than breathing a sigh of relief at minimized losses.
That vision of affordable and accessible care for every American is what we’ll keep working towards – with or without the President.”