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First week of open enrollment sees roughly 177,000 consumers sign up over two days

About half as many people signed up in the first week this year as opposed to last, though week one was only two days long.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

In week one of the 2020 open enrollment, 177,082 people selected plans using the Healthcare.gov platform. As in past years, enrollment weeks are measured Sunday through Saturday, which means that week one was only two days long this year -- from Friday to Saturday.

Of those making plan selections, 48,923 are new consumers, while 128,159 were renewing their coverage. In total, there were 1,184,305 Healthcare.gov users logged over the first week's two-day span.

In a year-over-year comparison, 371,676 consumers made plan selections during the first week of 2019 open enrollment, about 89,000 of them new. It should be noted, however, that the first week of 2019 open enrollment encompassed three days instead of two -- Thursday through Saturday. More than 282,000 people renewed their coverage at that time.

Generally, this report refers to the 38 states that use the HealthCare.gov platform for the 2020 benefit year, including the federally-facilitated exchange and some state-based exchanges.

The states using the Healthcare.gov platform for the individual market exchange are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

WHAT'S THE IMPACT

The Affordable Care Act implemented the Healthcare.gov website as the primary means by which consumers could seek health insurance along with state exchanges, also known as the marketplace.

Major cuts to its marketing and outreach funding were made in 2017, with CMS spending $10 million on marketing and outreach for the 2018 season, which is just over $1 per Healthcare.gov enrollee, compared to $100 million and $11 per enrollee the previous year.

The lead-up to 2018's open enrollment not only saw the slashing of the promotional budget for the ACA, but also cuts for navigator funding used by community organizations to help consumers select plans. The government also shortened the enrollment period. The final 2018 numbers were still high.

THE LARGER TREND

Despite cuts and uncertainty over the future of the ACA as Republicans attempted to revoke the law, enrollment last year remained relatively high. An estimated 11.8 million consumers enrolled in ACA plans, down slightly from 12.2 million in 2017 and 12.7 million in 2016, an all-time high.

For the 2018 open enrollment season's first week, which was only four days long, 601,462 people selected plans using the Healthcare.gov platform.
 

Twitter: @JELagasse

Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com