ObamaCare enrollment drops 3.7 percent for 2018, health group says

ObamaCare enrollment drops 3.7 percent for 2018, health group says

ObamaCare saw a 3.7 percent drop in enrollment in 2018 compared to the year before, according to new numbers released Wednesday from a health-care group that says the relatively minor decline demonstrates “remarkable stability.”

The national total of consumers who selected ObamaCare plans during this year’s open enrollment period was 11.8 million, compared to 12.2 million who signed up for plans in 2017. 

Experts and advocates of ObamaCare had expected a bigger drop in enrollment, mainly due to attacks on the system from the Trump White House. 

The administration slashed the advertising budget for open enrollment by 90 percent and also cut funds for local groups that help people sign up for coverage. 

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Experts also worried that multiple attempts by congressional Republicans to repeal and replace the law could cause confusion and deter consumers from signing up. 

Part of the GOP tax law President TrumpDonald John TrumpWSJ: Trump ignored advice to confront Putin over indictments Trump hotel charging Sean Spicer ,000 as book party venue Bernie Sanders: Trump 'so tough' on child separations but not on Putin MORE signed into law last year included the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate requiring people to get health insurance.

The final numbers released Wednesday, however, show the ObamaCare remains stable in the face of “national uncertainty,” says the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP), the group that released the numbers. 

“For the first time we now have the full national picture of how the individual marketplaces did this year and it is a picture of remarkable stability,” said Trish Riley, executive director of NASHP. 

Open enrollment for states that use the federally facilitated marketplace ended Dec. 15. 

But many of the 12 states that operate their own marketplaces had longer enrollment periods, with some not ending until Jan. 31, making it impossible to know the full picture until now. 

Enrollment in states that run their own health-care exchanges outpaced states that used the marketplace run by the federal government, the data shows. 

State-based marketplaces, which control their own advertising and outreach, saw a slight increase in enrollment, while the 34 states that used the federally facilitated marketplace saw a 5.3 percent drop. 

“Despite all the uncertainty and challenges we have seen, particularly for consumers living in states supported by state-based marketplaces, we see millions of Americans continuing to benefit from the coverage they get in the individual market,” Riley said.