Trump Administration Wasn’t Able To Totally Scrap Obamacare Ads

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2015, file photo, the HealthCare.gov website, where people can buy health insurance, is displayed on a laptop screen in Washington. The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association said in a report released Wednesday, March 30, 2016, health insurers gained a sicker, more expensive patient population through the Affordable Care Act's coverage expansion. Its report offers an early glimpse at customers who have gained coverage in the past couple years. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
Andrew Harnik/AP

The Trump administration apparently was unable to scrap all outreach efforts to enroll individuals in Obamacare, following widespread concern that its move Thursday to pull ads promoting enrollment could destabilize the insurance marketplace.

According to Politico, HHS officials said Friday evening that they will continue to allow “automatic phone calls and other online and digital outreach.”

Politico also reported that HHS was unable to cancel some of the millions in television advertising that had already been bought during the Obama administration. HHS was able to cancel $4 million out of $5 million in the ads, which could still have a significant affect on enrollment, according to the report.

“Once an assessment was made, we pulled back the most expensive and least efficient part of this massive ad campaign which was set to run over the weekend,” an HHS spokesman told Politico. “Those costs savings will be returned to the U.S. Treasury.”

News broke Thursday that advertising in the final days of open enrollment would be canceled under the Trump administration, causing concern for insurers who warn that younger and healthier consumers often sign up in the final days of the month. Without younger and healthier people in the Obamacare market place, costs can rise.

“Every American deserves coverage, and open enrollment is the best opportunity people have to get coverage that gives them access to high-quality care. At a time when the individual market faces challenges, we need as many people as possible to participate – so that costs go down for everyone,” Kristine Grow, the senior vice president of communications of America’s Health Insurance Plans, said in a statement Friday early afternoon. “Balancing out the risk pool is an important action that can be taken now to help stabilize the market, improve affordability, and send strong signals as health plans develop their products for 2018.”

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Lauren Fox is a reporter at Talking Points Memo.
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