In the second week of the 2017 open enrollment period, more than 876,000 people enrolled in Affordable Care Act exchange plans on Healthcare.gov.
Combined with the more than 600,000 people who enrolled in the first four days of the 2018 signup season, that’s a total of nearly 1.5 million for the first 11 days, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. By comparison, 1,008,218 people signed up during the first 12 days of the open enrollment period for 2017 plans.
The average number of signups has slowed compared to Healthcare.gov’s busy opening week. In the four days encompassed by the Trump administration’s first weekly enrollment report, there were an average of about 150,000 signups per day. The next seven days saw an average of about 125,000 enrollments per day.
But that’s still higher than the 84,000 per day average in the first 12 days of last year’s enrollment period for 2017 plans.
When the first 2018 open enrollment period report came out last week, the high numbers it contained seemed to defy predictions that enrollment would be lower than in years past. After all, the Trump administration slashed outreach and advertising funds, pushed for a repeal of the ACA and cut the enrollment period in half.
But some experts suggested that the heightened visibility of the healthcare law may actually be what is fueling the higher number of signups for ACA exchange plans. In addition, rising premiums have led subsidies to increase for those eligible, resulting in many consumers having access to zero-premium plans.
It’s unclear, though, if the strong start this year can reverse the downward trend seen in the total enrollment figures at the end of the 2017 signup season. There were 12.2 million signups in that period, representing the first time total enrollment dipped since the ACA exchanges began.