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600,000 sign up for ACA health insurance, beating prior year’s pace, about 23% new to marketplace

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“More than 600,000 people signed up last week for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, significantly beating the pace of prior years as consumers defied President Trump’s assertion that the marketplace was collapsing,” Robert Pear reports for The New York Times.

Sign-ups averaged more than 150,000 per day last week, compared to 77,600 per day during the first week of enrollment in 2015. About 23 percent of the enrollees last week were new to the marketplace and didn’t have insurance through the federal exchange this year.

The ACA has been much in the news lately after President Trump slashed its advertising budget to the bone, cut off cost-sharing subsidiesto insurers, and halved the amount of time for open enrollment. But Matthew Slonaker, the executive director of the Utah Health Policy Project, told Pear that “Perhaps there’s no such thing as bad publicity. All the talk about health care in the year since the election has been good advertising for the Affordable Care Act.”

And Obama administration official Lori Lodes, who is also the founder of insurance education nonprofit Get America Covered, told Pear that people visited Healthcare.gov because they were anxious and confused about coverage, and found that plans were cheaper than they expected.

“Health policy experts said that unhealthy people with the greatest need for insurance tended to sign up in the first weeks of the open enrollment period while healthy people, who are needed to stabilize the market, were more likely to sign up near the final deadline. It is, they said, too early to predict total enrollment for 2018,” Pear reports.

From The Rural Blog

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