2017 ACA Marketplace Sign-Ups Outpace Previous Year

There are 700,000 more health plan sign ups this year compared with last year.

The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that the amount of individuals who have enrolled in health plans through Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces has significantly outpaced sign-ups from 2016.

A report from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) indicated that more than 11.5 million individuals have enrolled in marketplace health plans as of December 24, 2016, which is an increase of 286,000 enrollees, according to a press release from the CMS.

The report also indicated that more than 700,000 individuals living in New York and Minnesota have also signed up for health insurance through their respective state’s Basic Health Program, which increased the total number of sign-ups to 12.2 million.

This significant increase disputes predictions that rising premiums would cause health plan sign-ups to plummet, which could have further reinforced the push to repeal the health law.

Despite negative predictions, these new data show that millions of Americans rely on ACA marketplaces to access affordable health coverage, according to the press release.

More than 8.7 million individuals have signed up for plans in the 39 states that use HealthCare.gov to enroll, which includes 4.8 million female and 4.0 male enrollees. An additional 1.6 million rural Americans have enrolled in health coverage through this platform, which is important since there may be less coverage options for these individuals.

These new findings also reinforce the necessity of financial assistance for health insurance, since more than 8 in 10 individuals received tax credits. These tax credits may reduce premiums by $386 per month, or $4600 per year, the CMS reported.

Additionally, 65% of returning customers actively chose a new plan, which was up by 5% from last year.

While millions of individuals have signed up for plans, millions are still without insurance. To remedy this, HHS will continue efforts to increase sign-ups in the last few days of open enrollment. TV and radio advertising, targeted emails, and partnerships with Twitch, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook efforts will also continue.

Additionally, the IRS will send direct mail to individuals who paid a tax penalty in 2015 to encourage them to sign up for a health plan.

“Nationwide demand for health coverage is higher than ever, as Americans prove again that Marketplace coverage is vital to them and their families,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “For Americans who have not yet signed up, it’s not too late. Open enrollment continues through January 31st, but you should visit HealthCare.gov by this Sunday to ensure your coverage starts February 1st. Most HealthCare.gov consumers can find a plan for less than $75 per month in premiums, and millions are finding plans that meet their and their families’ needs.”