Healthcare.Gov Sign-Ups Tick Down To 8.7 Million In Final Numbers Release

Alex Brandon/AP

A report on HealthCare.Gov enrollment released by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Thursday showed the final number of sign-ups on the federal Obamacare exchanges to be about 100,000 fewer than the numbers released last week.

According to the final enrollment report released Thursday, 8.7 million people signed up for or re-enrolled in Obamacare plans on the federal exchanges. That number does not including enrollees in states that operate their own exchanges. CMS said it would be releasing a more detailed report on this year’s enrollment period in March that would include the data from state-based marketplaces.

Thursday’s numbers were down from the 8.8 million enrollees reported last week, a shift due to people who made cancelations to their plans, either in active selection or auto-enrollment, a CMS official said.

Thursday’s numbers also included those who enrolled in the final three hours of West Coast time, as well as enrollees who left their information with call centers before the deadline and were allowed to enroll after, according to a CMS official. Both types of numbers were not included in last week’s report, so it’s not entirely clear how many people canceled their plans when comparing the two sets of data.

About a half-million fewer people signed up for Obamacare plans on the federal exchange this year compared to last year — an enrollment pattern that surprised health care analysts and observers in light of the Trump administration’s neglectful if not outright hostile approach to implementing the Affordable Care Act. President Trump on multiple occasions declared the law dead, while the Department of Health and Human services significantly scaled back its outreach efforts.

Trump also halted insurer subsidies that were subject to a legal challenge, a move he said was an effort to force Democrats to help him repeal the Affordable Care Act. Ironically the maneuver actually resulted in a large swath of Obamacare enrollees having to pay less out of pocket for premiums, due to how subsidies for low-income consumers are structured. However, some enrollees, particularly those who aren’t eligible for premium subsidies, did see their rates spike as a result of the move.