From 2017 to 2018, enrollment in Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans dropped by 3.7 percent. For the 2018 plan year, a total of 11.8 million people signed up for ACA plans, compared to last year’s 12.2 million enrollees.
Prior to open enrollment, the advertising budget for the Affordable Care Act was decreased by 90 percent, so ACA advocates were pleased to see such a minor drop. They say the small decline demonstrates that the program is still remarkably stable.
In previous years, premiums for ACA plans were considerably low, and the ratio of “sick” people to “healthy” people signing up for coverage skyrocketed. This unbalance caused significant financial losses for several insurance companies, so much so that many dropped out altogether. With only a few insurers left on the market, some accused them of creating a monopoly and profiting off an unfair system.
Members of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers reported, “The fact that low-income individuals are enrolling at high rates, while at the same time premiums are rising dramatically, is a clear sign of a distorted market that involves larger transfers from taxpayers to insurers.”
Florida had the highest enrollment in the country, coming in at 1.7 million cumulative plan selections, with Texas following in second, with approximately 1.1 million. Alaska had the least with 18,313 enrollments.
In the 39 states that depend on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to operate their markets, there was only a small decrease in enrollment compared to 2017. However, about 66 percent of the marketplaces run by the state as opposed to the federal government saw an increase from last year to 2018.