Open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act (ACA-Obamacare) continues this week. People can get started or renew their policy by going to HealthCare.gov.

HHS reported increases in the enrollments the first week compared to last year at this time. Approximately 177,000 consumers successfully selected a plan on the first Saturday and Sunday of this year’s Open Enrollment. Due to when open enrollment started, the first week’s data covers only November 1 and November 2. According to CMS, last year’s levels during the first Saturday and Sunday were approximately 109,000 plan selections. Of the 177,000, 48,000 were new customers, 128,000 were customers renewing. There were 1,1 million users of the HealthCare.gov site.

Last month the Centers on Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in HHS indicated that health insurance premiums for 2020 would decrease by an average of 4 percent. At the same time, just 12 percent of ACA customers will be living in counties that will only have one insurer providing coverage. Additionally, 20 more issuers will participate in states that use the Federal Health Insurance Exchange platform in 2020, bringing the total to 175 issuers compared to 132 in 2018.

All characteristics represent a significant improvement in both the costs and availability of health insurance provided through the Affordable Care Act. The figures are based on health insurance policies being made available to the 39 states that utilize the federal ACA website as their state exchange to provide health insurance under the 2010 health law. By comparison, in 2018, 30 percent of people lived in counties with only one health insurance company providing policies. Average premiums will decrease in 27 of the 39 states covered. Premiums for a silver plan (third level plan) for a single 40-year-old went up by 32 percent between 2017 and 2018.

Six states experienced double-digit percentage declines in average silver plan premiums including, Delaware (20%), Nebraska (15%), North Dakota (15 %), Montana (14%), Oklahoma (14%), and Utah (10%). The figures are based on the most common type of health insurance policy purchased, the third-highest benefit package (silver option), and comparing what a 27-year-old single person would pay and what a family of four would pay.

About the Author:

John Sciamanna is CWLA's Vice President of Public Policy.

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