CMS Reports that ACA Enrollment Only Dropped Slightly in 2018

April 4, 2018

On Tuesday, the CMS announced that final ACA enrollment numbers showed that 11.8 million Americans enrolled in individual insurance plans offered through the ACA marketplace in 2018.

“Our primary goal this year was to ensure that Americans who wanted coverage through the Exchange had a seamless experience,” Seema Verma, MPH, Adminstrator of the CMS, said in a press release. “We are pleased that consumer satisfaction was the highest it’s ever been during the 2018 open enrollment period.”

The 2018 enrollment numbers include 8.7 million Americans from 39 states who signed up using and an additional 3.1 million Americans who signed up through state-based exchanges. 

The 2018 enrollment number of 11.8 million Americans is only 400,000 enrollees shy of 2017’s 12.2 million enrollees—despite widespread claims that the enrollment would plummet dramatically due to premium instability and political messaging.

The CMS touted its ability to enroll almost the same amount of Americans as prior years with fewer resources.

“This year’s open enrollment was also cost effective, with CMS spending less on outreach and advertising while enrollment stayed essentially the same,” CMS wrote. “CMS adjusted the open enrollment marketing budget to a level that is consistent with advertising spending for Medicare and has proven to be effective.”

Despite this success, the Administration’s position remains pessimistic regarding the future viability of the ACA marketplace.

“Even with the success of this year’s open enrollment, the individual market continues to see premiums rise and choices diminish,” Ms Verma said. “Average individual market premiums have more than doubled since 2013 compared to health plans on the Exchange in 2018, and half of U.S. counties have had only one issuer to choose from this year.”

David Costill

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