Open Enrollment Surges across the United States

New data out of CMS shows a dramatic surge in the number of ACA enrollees during the final week of open enrollment. For the 39 states using HealthCare.gov, a total of 8.8 million individuals signed up for coverage through December 15, and over 4.1 million of those signups occurred during the week of December 10–15. During the final week, over 1 million of the signups were new customers, and 2.1 million were individuals renewing their coverage.

 

While many outlets have been reporting increases in the rate of enrollment compared to last year, many predicted that the shortened enrollment period and decreased outreach spending would still result in a net decrease in the number of individuals purchasing coverage. However, the new data shows that the overall number of enrollees this year may be closer to the 2016 numbers than originally predicted.

Last year, between Nov.1 – Dec. 15, CMS reported 6.36 million sign ups through HealthCare.gov. Then, with a longer open enrollment period, that total number rose to 9.6 million by February 1. Combined with the state-run insurance market signups, CMS estimates there was approximately 12.7 million enrolled in 2016.

Taking into account HealthCare.gov enrollments as well as the approximately 2.5 million signups from the state-run exchanges, we are currently sitting at roughly 11.3 enrollees this year. This number will likely continue to climb as many of the state-run exchanges will run for several additional weeks.

Broken down by state, results are a mixed bag:

Hawaii shows an overall 37 percent increase this year compared to 2016 (20,000 compared to 14,564). Oregon also increased enrollment by 7 percent (157,537 vs 147,109). However, Texas enrollment decreased by 13 percent (1,130,594 vs 1,306,208) and Alaska decreased by 20 percent (18,356 compared to 23,029). Even though the enrollment period for most of Texas is over, for areas of the state impacted by the hurricanes, a special enrollment period will extend the deadline to December 31.

Washington Healthplanfinder has already reported higher signup numbers than last year, and will remain open for enrollment until January 15.

 

In California, where enrollment is open until January 31, Covered California is also reporting signup numbers ahead of last year’s pace.