By: Theo Smith, NHC Communications Intern
The open enrollment period for health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, is underway, ending on December 15.
According to CNN, within the first 10 days of open enrollment this year, almost 1.2 million Americans selected health insurance plans through the ACA, compared to the nearly 1.5 million within the first 11 days last year.
There are many suspected causes for decline in enrollment, such as decreases in funding for advertising and health insurance “navigators” who help people decide which plan to choose. Additionally, many people could enroll in new types of insurance that are not sold in the marketplace, which are allowed to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions and do not have to cover important medicines and health care services.
Although the number of Americans signing up for health insurance coverage through the federal marketplace is coming in at a slower rate this year, these numbers don’t include states that operate their own insurance exchanges or people who will be automatically re-enrolled in plans during the last week of open enrollment.
Some states with their own insurance exchanges have reported higher sign-ups this year, according to Modern Healthcare. “In Minnesota, nearly 98,000 people enrolled in exchange coverage during the first two weeks of open enrollment, up 6.9% over the first two weeks last year.” There have also been increases in the “first two weeks of Colorado’s open enrollment period, 13.1% ahead of last year’s period.”
Visit Healthcare.gov before December 15 to compare plans and sign up, and beware plans sold outside of the marketplace, as they may not provide much benefit if you get sick or have an accident. You can use our glossary of terms to help you navigate the health insurance marketplace.