Despite an open enrollment period only half as long as 2016’s and a reduction in advertising and promotion funds by 90 percent, 8.8 million people signed up for health insurance policies on HealthCare.gov, the federal marketplace for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Last year 9.2 million signed up, but they had until Jan. 31 instead of Dec. 15 to do so.
State exchanges and the District of Columbia, which report results separately, are still open, some closing tomorrow and others between then and Jan. 31, 2018.
Residents in areas ravaged by hurricanes and high winds have been given an extended window until Dec. 31 to sign up for policies taking effect Jan. 1, 2018.
The special enrollment period applies to 53 counties in Texas, as well as all of Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Maine, South Carolina, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, along with parts of Louisiana and Mississippi.
According to the site ACASignups.net, about 161 million people, or nearly 50 percent of the U.S. population, still have time to sign up using the nine state and D.C. exchanges and on HealthCare.gov for those in the special enrollment areas.
Final nationwide results won’t be known until sometime in February since the last state enrollment deadline is Jan. 31.
In related news, the ACA’s individual mandate has been repealed as part of the tax package just passed by Congress, which President Trump will sign either before Christmas or in January, depending on the stopgap federal funding extension, if any, that Congress approves to avoid a government shutdown tomorrow night.