8.7M people signed up for Obamacare
Free Press wire reports | 1/5/2018, 12:07 p.m.
More than 8.7 million people nationally signed up for coverage for 2018 under the Affordable Care Act, the health care law that was a hallmark of the Obama administration, the government reported last week.
The number or enrollees exceeded expectations, despite President Trump repeatedly pronouncing the program, known as Obamacare, “a disaster.”
The final tally for the 39 states using the federal www.HealthCare.gov marketplace showed about 80,000 fewer sign-ups than an initial count provided before the Christmas holiday. A spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said the slight dip was due to late cancellations.
Still, enrollment reached nearly 95 percent of 2016’s level, outperforming projections in a show of consumer demand, despite a shortened sign-up season and big cuts in the ad budget.
Ahead of open enrollment, analysts had predicted somewhere around 1 million to 2 million fewer people would sign up for subsidized private coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
But the latest numbers indicate that new customers kept showing up as the Dec. 15 enrollment deadline closed. More than 66,000 new customers were added since the pre-Christmas enrollment report.
The dip in enrollment appears to be due to returning customers dropping out. Some of those dropouts are likely to be people whose current plans were canceled for 2018, and who were reassigned to coverage that they didn’t like.
A complete national tally may not be available until March, as states running their own health insurance markets are continuing to sign up consumers. In California and New York, enrollment season ends Jan. 31.
While President Trump says he will continue to try to repeal and replace Obamacare, prospects in Congress appear dim with Republicans losing a Senate seat in Alabama. A bipartisan bill to shore up the health law’s markets is also pending, but faces an uncertain outlook.