Enrollment for the ACA opened Wednesday and extends through mid-December in most places
The Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare, has emerged more or less intact from the rubble of several failed attempts to repeal it.
Those looking for coverage can find it at HealthCare.gov, extending through mid-December in most places and as late as January in some areas. Enrollment opened Nov. 1.
Even so, this enrollment season — the first to take place under President Donald Trump — may be more underwhelming than its predecessors.
For one, consumers are less likely to hear about open enrollment and learn about how it works. The Trump administration said in late August that it would significantly cut outreach efforts, including a 90% reduction to the ACA’s advertising budget.
Promotional efforts are considered crucial to a successful enrollment period, and some experts blamed a lack of promotion for a 2017 enrollment dip.
A majority of individuals who could enroll in an ACA plan don’t know the dates of the 2018 open enrollment period, according to a recent survey from the respected non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation.
Of the general public, 18% said they saw any ads or commercials providing information about how to get an ACA plan, compared with 33% of people in October 2014, the survey found.
Then there’s the duration of the 2018 enrollment period, just six weeks, which is shorter than in previous years.
And, because of all the political tumult surrounding the ACA, consumers may simply be confused. Trump also said this month that his administration will stop paying cost-sharing reduction payments to health insurers, a major part of the ACA, which could add to the confusion.
The change could prompt health insurers to raise premiums. That should not affect individuals who have some sort of assistance, either tax credits or subsidies, in paying for ACA plans, but it could hit middle class Americans who don’t qualify for tax credits or subsidies especially hard.