Over 8.8 million people signed up for Obamacare in 2018 in spite President Trump and the GOP doing all they could to kill it.
The open enrollment season was half the length it has been in previous years and had much less promotion yet there were only 400,000 fewer people who signed up compared to last years open enrollment.
Almost 2.4 million consumers were new signups and over 6.4 million continued with their coverage during the period which ran from November 1 through December 15. In the last six days alone 4.1 people selected plans which included those who were automatically renewed.
In previous years the enrollment deadline was extended though Trump did not make an extension this year. It should be noted that those who were not able to get through to the call center were given more time to sign up and those people have not been counted among the figured listed in this article.
The final numbers for the federal exchange, which handled the enrollment for 39 states is expected to grow. The people who were affected by the hurricane season in some of the Southern states, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, as well as those whose plans were discontinued by their insurance company, have been given more time to sign up. Some were given until the end of the year and others until March 1st.
Last year’s period ran until January 30 and saw 9.2 million people choosing policies. Nevertheless, Obamacare supporters and experts in health care were happy to see the strong showing.
“The demand for affordable coverage speaks volumes — proving, yet again, the staying power of the marketplaces,” said Lori Lodes, a former Obama administration official and co-founder of Get America Covered, which promotes open enrollment.
The Trump administration has been accused of attempting to sabotage the Affordable Care Act through a number of changes to this year’s open enrollment period. Not only did Trump shorten the enrollment period, the administration reduced the advertising budget by 90%, eliminated TV spots and cut funding for navigators who help people enroll by over 40%.
That didn’t stop the administration from putting a positive spin on the enrollment season, touting that they spent less on advertising and got almost the same number of signups.
“Our goal from the beginning was to empower patients across the healthcare delivery system and make sure that Americans who chose to enroll in the exchanges had a good customer experience while making enrollment more cost-efficient, and the results show that we accomplished our goal,” said Seema Verma, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator.