Funding Cut for Affordable Care Act Advertising

Trump Administration reduces open enrollment advertisements by $5 million.

Yesterday, the Trump Administration announced a funding cut for HealthCare.gov advertisements in the last days of open enrollment for Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces.

Under former President Barack Obama’s administration, the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said numerous times that the last few days before the end of open enrollment always causes a spike in enrollment.

Now, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has cut $5 million in advertisements, citing that more than $60 million was already spent on outreach, according to an article published by The New York Times.

Obama officials have called the funding cut sabotage, and this latest action marks new efforts from the Trump Administration to dismantle the health law.

Former CEO of HealthCare.gov Kevin Counihan said that this move has the potential to increase costs, since younger individuals will not be reminded due to the cuts in television and internet advertising, the Times reported. This group of individuals is needed to stabilize the marketplaces, since they tend to be healthier, and will reduce overall healthcare costs.

While the HHS website still includes a link and a blog to promote the health law, advertisements and other outreach efforts that were cut have proven successful in the past.

Even advertisements that have already been paid for have been pulled by the administration, according to Politico. All media outreach has been stopped, and emails to remind people to finish signing up have also been halted.

Additionally, the HealthCare.gov Twitter has not tweeted about ACA open enrollment since January 25, 2017. Previously, the account posted several tweets per day regarding the marketplaces, and tips for signing up.

CMS previously announced that enrollment in ACA plans were higher than the previous year, with nearly 9 million individuals signed up by mid-January, 2017. Regardless of the high number of sign ups, it is unclear how this cut will affect last minute enrollments.