Oct 26, 2017

What to expect from Trump's first ACA enrollment season

The Affordable Care Act's fifth open enrollment period begins in less than a week. And it's going to be a wild one.

Data: Avalere Health; Cartograms: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

  • As the graphic above indicates, based on data from Avalere Health, premiums are up substantially. Nationwide, premiums for so-called "benchmark" plans will be 38% higher, on average, than last year. Those are the plans the federal government uses to determine the size of your premium subsidy.
  • Those benchmark plans are supposed to fall roughly in the middle of the options available through the exchanges. But because of the way states and insurance companies dealt with the uncertainty around the ACA's cost-sharing subsidies, many people will now be able to get more comprehensive "gold" plans for a lower premium than the middle-of-the-road benchmark.
  • When you shop around on HealthCare.gov, it now organizes plans based on your total monthly premium, after accounting for subsidies. This is a change — and one that consumer advocates, including some Obama administration veterans, were happy to see.

Sea change: With a shorter open-enrollment window, fewer intermediate deadlines and barely any money for consumer outreach, this enrollment season will look a lot different from the four before it.

  • The Health and Human Services Department has not set a goal to get a certain number of people to sign up this year, administration officials told the Washington Examiner. (Most analysts expect enrollment to drop.)

The countdown: Six days.

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