As ACA open enrollment nears finish line, HealthCare.gov sign-ups surge

Open enrollment ahead sign
Affordable Care Act open enrollment is set to end Sunday. (Getty/JimVallee)

As open enrollment enters its final days, the number of sign-ups “bodes well” for final totals after a notable surge in week six, experts said. 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the latest enrollment snapshot Wednesday, covering signups between Dec. 1 and Dec. 7. In that week, more than 1 million people signed up for a plan on HealthCare.gov, for a total of 3.8 million sign-ups over the first six weeks of enrollment. 

Open enrollment ends Sunday. 

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Joshua Peck, co-founder of Get America Covered, said on a call with reporters Thursday that the enrollment in the sixth week is up by 8% compared to week six of 2019 enrollment, a positive sign after early enrollment numbers lagged behind

“The gap we saw earlier is closing,” Peck said. 

RELATED: As ACA open enrollment starts, markets look stable but stagnant on growth 

Peck said that the late surge indicates that while enrollment for 2020 is likely to be down compared to 2019, the gap may not be very large.  

In the past couple of years, enrollment was down hundreds of thousands of people from the year before, and if current enrollment trends continue, that does not appear to be the case for 2020, Peck said. 

“It does look like we are on track to fall just shy of last year’s enrollment figure,” he said. “If that were to occur it would change a multiyear trend.” 

Of the 1,005,673 sign-ups on HealthCare.gov that were reported in week six, 302,569 were new customers and 703,104 were returning customers. In total in the first six weeks, more than 1 million were new sign-ups and 2.8 million were returning customers. 

CMS released effectuated enrollment for both HealthCare.gov and the state-based insurance exchanges through the first half of 2019, which shows that 10.2 million people effectuated their coverage through July 2019.

RELATED: ACA insurers per state to increase in 2020, but disparities still remain, KFF finds 

That’s about 85,000 fewer people compared to the first half of 2018, or a decline of under 1%. Effectuated enrollment data include the average number of people who had an active policy between January and June 2019 and who paid their premiums by Sept. 1. 

The number of people who effectuated their enrollment was about 1.25 million lower than the number who signed up for a plan by the end of open enrollment, CMS said. 

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