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Final ObamaCare sign-ups tick down slightly due to cancellations

Final ObamaCare sign-ups tick down slightly due to cancellations
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The final ObamaCare sign-up total ticked down slightly in new data released Thursday, the result of a small number of people canceling their plans.

The final number went from around 8.8 million to around 8.7 million, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency that oversees the health-care law.

The Trump administration announced last week that 8.8 million people had signed up for ObamaCare plans, just shy of the 9.2 million from last year. That was an unexpectedly strong showing given confusion over the fate of the law and cutbacks in outreach.

The revised number released Thursday is still strong. But it takes into account late cancellations by some people, CMS said.

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That includes cancellations by people who were automatically re-enrolled in a plan. Every year, a couple million people are automatically re-enrolled if they choose not to actively select a new plan.

This year, though, people for the first time were automatically re-enrolled after the deadline had already passed to actively select a plan. Therefore, it is possible that some people simply canceled their plan altogether after realizing that they were automatically re-enrolled in a plan with a high premium and that it was too late to change to another plan.  

Lori Lodes, a former Obama administration official now working to sign people up, noted the automatic enrollment issue while saying the tick downwards is normal. 

"This type of adjustment happens every year," she said. "Because of the shortened enrollment period, cancelations could be larger this year because most consumers who were auto-enrolled can’t come back and select a new plan."

This story was updated at 1:52 p.m.