- About 11.4 million consumers signed up for health insurance for 2019 coverage using the online exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, CMS said Monday. About 300,000 fewer people picked a plan compared to last year.
- Enrollment declined slightly, despite earlier predictions of a much greater decline due to the effective repeal of the individual mandate penalty. The Congressional Budget Office estimated 3 million fewer consumers would purchase plans via the exchanges and nongroup markets in 2019 due to the repeal.
- The average premium was $612 in 2019, less than the year prior, CMS said.
Critics had feared efforts to undermine the ACA would result in a substantial increase in the number of uninsured. So far, the outcome does not seem as dire as they originally worried, judging by the latest figures.
Many had predicted a greater drop in coverage due to the now toothless individual mandate, the expansion of short-term plans and other plans that don't adhere to coverage requirements under the ACA and the Trump administration's cuts to funding for marketing to encourage healthcare sign-ups.
The ACA marketplaces appear stable, Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation said, but he added that reversing enrollment declines would require "undoing outreach reductions and increasing subsidies, and that would cost money."
A considerable number of consumers using the marketplaces for insurance coverage qualify for some sort of financial help. About 71% of consumers using the marketplace have household incomes between 100% and 250% of the federal poverty level, making them eligible for financial assistance.
The average monthly premium for a consumer who receives a subsidy is $87, while the average premium for a consumer who does not qualify for a subsidy is $612, CMS reported.