Affordable Care Act Enrollment Remains High in First Week

More than 1 million Americans signed up for coverage through HealthCare.gov in the first few days of open enrollment.

Signups during the first week of open enrollment for 2018 Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans remained high, despite significant cuts to outreach efforts, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

From November 1 to November 4, 2017, 601,462 Americans selected 2018 plans through HealthCare.gov, according to the CMS. Since the enrollment weeks account for plan selection from Sunday to Saturday, the first week only included 4 days.

In the first 2 weeks of 2017 open enrollment, the CMS reported that more than 1 million Americans signed up for coverage through HealthCare.gov.

During the first week of 2018 open enrollment, there were 137,322 new customers, while 464,140 were returning customers, according to the release.

The Hill also reported that there were a record number of signups within the first few days of open enrollment. The number of enrollments in the first few days was found to significantly outpace signups in previous years.

A government official said that more than 200,000 Americans selected a plan on November 1, 2017, compared with 100,000 on the first day last year, according to the article.

However, The Hill said that it is still unclear how many Americans will enroll by the end of the signup period, which was cut in half compared with previous periods. This year, enrollment is from November 1 until December 15.

Recent projections suggested that enrollment could drop more than 1.6 million below last year’s signups, which may be due to funding cuts to outreach efforts, according to the article.

Other factors—including reduced insurer participation and increasing premiums—may also affect enrollment for 2018. Of all the plans offered on the ACA marketplace, the most popular—the silver plan—is set to increase an average of 34% in 2018, according to an analysis from Avalere. The authors projected silver plans to increase to $743 in 2018 compared with $554 in 2017, according to the study. Since 2015, these plans have increased by nearly $300.

These factors could have a significant impact on enrollment and the uninsured rate.

“The first few days of Open Enrollment for the Federal Health Insurance Exchange went smoothly," a spokesperson for the CMS told The Hill. "The website performed optimally and consumers easily accessed enrollment tools to compare plans and prices."