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More than 803,000 select healthcare plans in the second week of open enrollment

It's comparable to the first week of this year's open enrollment, which saw 818,365 people sign up for coverage.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

During the second week of the 2020 open enrollment period, from November 8 to 14, 803,741 people selected plans using the HealthCare.gov platform.

The enrollment figures are a jump from the second week of the 2019 open enrollment period, when 754,967 people selected plans using Healthcare.gov. The 2020 tally is closer to the numbers posted during Week 2 of 2018 open enrollment, when 804,556 selected plans. That's still lower than the 876,788 who selected plans during Week 2 in 2017.

The new tally is comparable to the first week of this year's open enrollment, which saw 818,365 people sign up for coverage during the first seven days. Since the weeks are measured Sunday through Saturday, and November 1 was on a Sunday, Week 1 of open enrollment encompassed a full week.

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The closest comparison may be 2015, when the first week of open enrollment was also seven days long. From November 1-7, 2015, 543,098 people enrolled, decided lower compared to this year.

The HealthCare.gov platform is used by the federally facilitated exchange and some state-based exchanges. Notably, New Jersey and Pennsylvania transitioned to their own platforms for 2021, and due to this they're absent from HealthCare.gov for 2021 coverage. Those two states accounted for 578,251 plan selections last year, accounting for 7% of all plan selections. These enrollees' selections will not appear in CMS' figures until it announces the state-based marketplace plan selections.

WHAT'S THE IMPACT?

This is the second snapshot of open enrollment figures by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during this sign-up period.

Of those selecting plans, 170,284 were new consumers, while 633,457 were renewing coverage. This brings the total number of new consumers to 343,628 since the beginning of open enrollment, while the tally for those renewing coverage now stands at 1,278,478. More than 2,678,000 consumers have been on the applications submitted to date.

A consumer is considered to be a new consumer if they did not have 2020 exchange coverage through December 31, 2020 and had a 2021 plan selection. They're considered a renewing consumer if they have 2020 exchange coverage through December 31, 2020 and actively select either the same plan or a new plan for 2021.

The numbers represent those who have submitted an application and selected a plan, net of any cancellations from a consumer, or cancellations from an insurer. The weekly metric represents the net change in the number of uncanceled plan sections over a given period.

Plan selections will not include those consumers who are automatically re-enrolled into a plan. To have their coverage effectuated, consumers generally need to pay their first month's health plan premium. CMS did not report the number of effectuated enrollments.

In all, there were 3,103,972 HealthCare.gov users recorded during the second week, and 103,280 on the Spanish-speaking equivalent, CuidadoDeSalud.gov, bringing the two-week totals to 5,868,433 and 195,664, respectively.

THE LARGER TREND

Congressional Republicans have for years attempted to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which established the HealthCare.gov website and the exchanges. To date these efforts have been to no avail, and last week the Supreme Court indicated it may be favorable to retaining the law after hearing challenges to its constitutionality from GOP-led plaintiffs.

President-elect Joe Biden has said he is favorable to strengthening and expanding the ACA, and favors a government-run public option to run parallel with private offerings.

Twitter: @JELagasse
Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com