400,000 Fewer People Signed up for 2018 ACA Coverage 

The Trump administration announced that 11.8 million people signed up for 2018 health-insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces this year, despite the shorter 45-day open enrollment period (in previous years the open enrollment period lasted 3 months). That number represents a 400,000-person drop in enrollment from last year.

Most of the decrease was seen in the 39 states that use the federal government–run HealthCare.gov marketplace, which ended enrollment assistance in 18 cities last year and limited other outreach efforts.

In the 11 states that sell ACA coverage through their own marketplaces, enrollment levels remained the same as the previous year. The share of customers younger than 35 dropped slightly, while the share of customers older than 55 grew slightly.

The Trump administration’s decision to stop reimbursing health-insurance companies for the discounts on co-payments and deductibles they are legally required to offer low-income consumers was expected to hurt enrollment. However, to offset these operating cost increases, insurers increased the prices of their midlevel plans, allowing more people to qualify for premium subsidies. In all, 83 percent of enrollees qualified for tax credits that lowered the cost of their premiums.

Source: The New York Times, April 3, 2018.

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