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CMS reports a slight increase in effectuated enrollment for early 2020

It found that the number of consumers who enrolled, paid and had coverage increased by about 1% from 10.6 million the same time last year.

Mallory Hackett, Associate Editor

About 10.7 million people had active policies under the federally-facilitated Health Insurance Exchange in early 2020, an increase from the year before.

On Thursday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released its Early 2020 Effectuated Enrollment Report, finding that the number of consumers who enrolled, paid and had coverage as of March 15, 2020, increased about 1% from 10.6 million during the same time last year.

This year, roughly 94% of consumers who made plan selections during open enrollment ended up paying their first month's premium.

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The average monthly premium decreased from $594.17 in February 2019 to $576.16 in February 2020.

About 86% of this year's enrollees received an advance premium tax credit (APTC) to lower the cost of their premiums, a 1% decrease from last year.

With an APTC, the average monthly premium in 2020 was $491.53, compared to 2019, which saw average premiums with an APTC of $514.01.

Later this year, CMS plans to publish effectuated enrollment data for the first six months of 2020, which will include updated February 2020 enrollment data.

WHY THIS MATTERS

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was designed to make affordable health insurance available to more people, especially those who do not have access to affordable insurance through an employer and who do not qualify for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program.

CMS confirmed that for the third year in a row, enrollment has remained steady. Enrollment for the rest of the year, however, may increase due to COVID-19-related unemployment.

An estimated 10 million people will likely lose their employer-sponsored health insurance as a result of pandemic-related job loss. Of those, projections show that 3.3 million will regain employer-sponsored insurance by being added to a family member's policy, 2.8 million people will enroll in Medicaid, and 600,000 consumers will enroll in the individual market, mainly via the ACA marketplace. Still, 3.5 million people will become uninsured.

THE LARGER TREND

Despite the steady enrollment in the federally-facilitated Health Insurance Exchange, the Trump administration has tried to dismantle the ACA.

In June, it filed a brief with the Supreme Court to invalidate the law, which would result in millions of Americans losing their healthcare coverage.

As an alternative, the Trump administration has pushed for the sale of short-term limited-duration insurance plans as a less expensive health plan. This month, an appeals court ruled that the sale of plans that don't comply with the ACA can continue because they are neither contrary to law nor arbitrary and capricious.

Twitter: @HackettMallory
Email the writer: mhackett@himss.org