ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Are Down Slightly From Last Year; But This Was Expected
Enrollment numbers are down slightly for HealthCare.Gov coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). However, this was expected given the rising costs and the mandate’s fee being reduced to zero.
Consider, we have 2,424,913 plan selections from Nov 1 – 24 for 2018, and we had 2,781,260 for Nov 1 – 25 for 2017 (this only counts states that use the Federal exchange HealthCare.Gov, the assumption is that these numbers tend to be true across the board, but since some states have their own mandate, it could be that states like MA and CA have higher sign up rates).
So we aren’t talking about a big drop off, we are talking about a slight reduction… which, considering rates didn’t rise all that much, is almost certainly from those who can’t afford or feel they can’t afford the expense choosing to go without coverage now that the mandate’s fee has been reduced to zero.
In simple terms, when you take away the penalty for not having coverage, and you pair that with already high rates for those without robust cost assistance, you get an expectation that a percentage of Americans won’t enroll in coverage.
Why pay $300 a month for coverage when a checkups only cost a few hundred dollars a year out of pocket?
Well, you pay because insurance is a hedge against unforeseen unaffordable costs, right?
Well, “right,” but the reality of the situation is health insurance is a major expense and so there are families out there who will just skip it when given the option.
Some will skip it because they are tight on money, some will skip it because their costs are so high they are willing to take the gamble.
That is logical, and that is what seems to be happening in practice.
To see the numbers for yourself see CMS’s Weekly Enrollment Snapshot: Week 4.
As the unemployment rate drops, more Americans may be getting health insurance coverage from work. That too is a factor that could be driving down enrollment in Obamacare plans. Because unemployment has been falling since the Obamacare coverage first became available, it’s probably not a huge factor, but a tighter labor market could be reducing the overall number of people who need coverage.