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January 2, 2018

Federal ACA open enrollment is over. Here's how it went.

Daily Briefing

    CMS on Thursday released its final weekly enrollment snapshot, showing that more than 8.7 million people signed up for or were re-enrolled in federal exchange plans during the Affordable Care Act's latest open enrollment period.

    Federal exchange sign-up data

    The open enrollment period for the federal exchange ran from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15. The data released Thursday include sign-ups from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, as well as sign ups that occurred through Dec. 23 among individuals who called the federal enrollment call center before the open enrollment deadline and left their information for exchange workers to call them back.

    The data do not indicate whether individuals paid their first month's premiums, a step that effectively completes the enrollment process. The data also do not reflect sign-ups in states that run their own exchanges.

    CMS said as of Dec. 23, 8,743,642 U.S. residents had selected a federal exchange plan. Of those individuals:

    • 2,460,431 were new customers; and
    • 6,283,211 were returning customers.

    CMS said the federal exchange call center had received 7,039,530 calls as of Dec. 23, while HealthCare.gov had received 19,316,192 visitors.

    According to the CMS data, the states with the highest numbers of U.S. residents who signed up for federal exchange plans from Nov. 1 to Dec. 23 were:

    • Florida, with 1,715,227 sign-ups;
    • Texas, with 1,126,838 sign-ups;
    • North Carolina, with 519,803 sign-ups;
    • Georgia, with 480,912 sign-ups; and
    • Virginia, with 400,015 sign-ups.

    The states with the lowest numbers of U.S. residents who signed up for federal exchange plans from Nov. 1 to Dec. 23 were:

    • Alaska, with 18,313 sign-ups;
    • Hawaii, with 19,799 sign-ups;
    • North Dakota, with 22,486 sign-ups;
    • Wyoming, with 24,529 sign-ups; and
    • West Virginia, with 27,409 sign-ups.

    Signs-ups down from CMS' last update

    The number of exchange sign-ups is about 80,000 lower than the total CMS had reported on Dec. 21. A CMS spokesperson said the decline was due to individuals canceling their plans. According to the AP, the number of individuals CMS reported had re-enrolled in exchange plans fell by 145,000 between CMS' Dec. 21 report and the data the agency released Thursday, but the number of new sign-ups increased by 66,000.

    Lori Lodes, a former CMS officials and co-founder of Get Covered America, said, "This type of adjustment happens every year," adding, "Because of the shortened enrollment period, cancelations could be larger this year because most consumers who were auto-enrolled can't come back and select a new plan."

    CMS said in March it will release detailed data on federal exchange and state-run exchange sign-ups (Alonso-Zaldivar, AP/Sacramento Bee, 12/28; CMS fact sheet, 12/28; Sullivan, The Hill, 12/28).

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