January 31 marked the official conclusion of the third open enrollment period for the health insurances that were sold on the exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act. The final open enrollment report by the CMS shed more details on the total ACA enrollment figures.
CMS’s report indicated that approximately 12.2 million people in the country enrolled for health insurance coverage through both state and federal exchanges during the enrollment period of 2017. However, the total number of enrollments for the year 2017 was estimated to be about 500,000 less than the enrollment of 2016. In addition to that, these estimated numbers were also a lot lower than the projections of the Obama Administration for enrollment period’s end, which was approximately 13.8 million.
As per the report, 83 percent of the individuals who enrolled for the coverage received a premium tax credit or federal subsidy. In addition to that, the enrollees (family or individuals) are also eligible for tax subsidy if their earnings are estimated to be lower than 400% of the federal poverty level. The report also stated that about 31 percent of the people who enrolled for the coverage were new customers.
On the other hand, ACA supporters argued that the significant decline in the enrollment for the year 2017 was because of the ACA repeal efforts made by the President Donald Trump. The House Republicans had earlier introduced a new bill to repeal the ACA but they failed in passing the bill. This means that we will still have to wait and see what the 2018 plan year has in store for Obamacare.
Even if the members of the Congress were able to pass ACA replace/repeal legislation, the effects of this may only take place after the 2018 plan year. There are also numerous indications that more insurers will be leaving the exchanges soon. However, the insurers that remain in the exchanges may increase premiums to account for several reasons, such as there are only a few healthy and young individuals are enrolling and due to the market uncertainty that was created by the replace and repeal efforts. Reports indicate that the recently introduced proposed rule by the administration will make numerous changes to the 2018 exchanges for stabilizing the exchange marketplace.