Overnight Healthcare

Week ahead: ObamaCare sign-up drive kicks off

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Tuesday is a big day for ObamaCare.

Officials are kicking off a sign-up season that is critical for the health of the law. 

The enrollment period for 2017 coverage stretches from Nov. 1 to Jan. 31. The administration is looking to boost the sign-up numbers by bringing in more young and healthy people. That would help ease insurer concerns about the stability of the law, amid attention on spiking premiums and insurers dropping out of the market. 

{mosads}”Part of what we can do this time is to overcome the skeptics, to prove people wrong and to provide momentum so that when the next administration comes in, they are starting from a position of strength,” President Obama said on a phone call with healthcare groups and activists on Thursday. 

The administration is hoping to use lessons learned from previous sign-up periods to improve outreach, and it will be reaching out to people who previously paid the penalty for lacking coverage, strongly pushing them to sign up instead.

Companies like Uber and Lyft are partnering with the administration to provide information on signing up to their drivers, and a range of other outreach efforts will be ongoing as well. 

The target is to bring in about a million more people than last year, which would be a modest gain. But that figure would beat expectations from some that enrollment could even decline giving the rising premiums. 

The administration emphasizes that about 85 percent of enrollees get financial assistance to help afford premiums, and about three quarters of people can find a plan for $75 a month or less. 

But the 25 percent average premium increase for the benchmark ObamaCare plan will continue to reverberate on the campaign trail. 

Donald Trump and congressional Republicans have been stepping up their attacks on the law, citing the rising costs. 

Hillary Clinton is acknowledging a problem with premiums, but is calling for building on the law, not taking away coverage for 20 million people who have gained it under ObamaCare. 

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services head Andy Slavitt will have a chance to give his take on ObamaCare — as well as Medicare’s financial situation — at an American Academy of Actuaries forum on Thursday. 


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