More than 8.4 million Americans enrolled for healthcare coverage through the federal ACA exchanges in 2018, down roughly 4% from 2017, according to final figures released Thursday by CMS.
This is also a small decrease from CMS' preliminary tally of almost 8.5 million people following the end of open enrollment Dec. 15 on Healthcare.gov.
CMS attributed the decrease to cancellations once all new plan selections, renewals and automatic enrollments were taken into account. CMS will release additional data in March that includes plan selection data from separate state-based exchanges.
According to the final figures, 2 million new consumers enrolled through the federal exchanges for 2019 coverage, while about 6.4 million renewed their previous coverage.
Though CMS Administrator Seema Verma crowed that the exchanges were steady in December, chalking up the decrease in participants to low unemployment, some experts say the Trump administration is partially to blame.
The administration has not been shy in its disdain for the law, with even Verma tweeting that the ACA is a disaster.
Policy-wise, CMS has slashed the open enrollment period in half for the past two years, cut advertising for the ACA exchanges and sharply decreased funding to groups created to help consumers navigate plan selection.
Of the 39 states using the Healthcare.gov platform, Florida had the highest bandwidth with 1.8 million enrollees followed by Texas (1.1 million) and North Carolina (501,000).
Seven of the 11 states with their own exchanges remain open for enrollment. Citizens of Minnesota have until Jan. 13 while people who live in California, Colorado, Connecticut and the District of Columbia can apply until Jan. 15. Those residing in Massachusetts and New York have until Jan. 23 and Jan. 31, respectively.