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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Final Open Enrollment Numbers Show Affordable Care Act Is Delivering Coverage People Want

Today, we saw the final enrollment numbers for the fourth open enrollment period. They build on earlier reports showing a high demand for coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces (exchanges). 

These numbers are an important reminder that millions are benefiting from improved access to health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act. And the final enrollment tally is particularly relevant now, given the new data we have about how these historic coverage gains would be reversed under the Republican health care bill. 

Here’s our quick take on the numbers. 

Enrollment was successful, despite roadblocks 

Almost the entire open enrollment period was fraught with uncertainty about the health care landscape following the election, and we know consumers had questions about whether they should even enroll. 

Then, during the last two weeks of open enrollment, the Trump Administration scaled back outreach and education efforts in an effort to suppress enrollment when enrollment traditionally surges. Yet, despite this combined uncertainty and confusion, millions of people still enrolled in coverage, showing their continued interest and demand. 

Breaking down the numbers: Some states exceeded previous year’s enrollment 

Nationally, 12.2 million people enrolled in coverage through the federal marketplace (Healthcare.gov) or their state’s marketplace, this is down from about 12.7 million people in the previous open enrollment period. 

  • Sign-ups through Healthcare.gov: In Healthcare.gov states, 9.2 million consumers enrolled. 
  • Sign-ups through state-based marketplaces: 3 million enrolled. In fact, many state-based marketplaces saw increases in enrollment. For example: Massachusetts saw a nearly 20 percent increase and Minnesota saw a 24 percent increase. 
  • Most consumers qualified for financial help: The vast majority of consumers—84 percent—received financial assistance to help make their plans more affordable. And though there has been a lot of debate around unaffordable plans in the marketplaces, the average Healthcare.gov consumer enrolled in a silver plan paid only $1 more in premiums this year than they did last year. 
The average Healthcare.gov consumer enrolled in a silver plan paid only $1 more in premiums this year than they did last year.

And, the marketplaces continue to attract new and young consumers. In states using Healthcare.gov, 31 percent of consumers who enrolled were new consumers, meaning they will join the millions who have already enjoyed the benefits of the affordable, comprehensive coverage these plans provide. And 36 percent of enrollees were between the ages of 0-34, which will help to bring a balanced risk pool.

Overall, we are thrilled to see that consumers are benefiting from the ACA and that enrollment assisters were available to educate consumers about the facts and provide them with needed assistance. 

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