The 2017 open enrollment period ended with more than 9.2 million people signing up for plans on Healthcare.gov, the federal government announced Friday.
That’s a slight decrease from the 9.6 million customers who enrolled through the federal exchange by the same time last year, according to past data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
The most recent signup figures from this year’s open enrollment do not include plan selections made on the state-based exchanges; that will be included in a more detailed final enrollment report in March, CMS said.
The latest sign-up figures come in the wake of the Trump administration’s decision to pull back $4 million to $5 million in TV and radio ads promoting open enrollment. In a blog post published Thursday, Joshua Peck, the former chief marketing officer of Healthcare.gov, estimates that this move and the president’s executive order on the ACA may have kept 480,000 people from getting covered.
Indeed, “there is no doubt that enrollment would have been even higher if not for the uncertainty caused by political attacks on the law, and the Trump administration’s decision not to provide consumers with all of the resources and support available to help them enroll,” Anne Filipic, president of the pro-ACA group Enroll America, said in an emailed statement.
The new administration’s opinion of the healthcare law was also evident in CMS’ announcement of the latest enrollment figures, which the Obama administration had always touted as evidence of strong consumer demand for marketplace plans.
Instead, the announcement noted that consumers selected plans from a market that experienced a 25% increase over the previous year in the average premium for the benchmark silver plan, as well as a 28% decline in the number of issuers participating in the exchange markets.