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ACA enrollment slides even with state mandates

NJ.com raises a good point: New Jersey has done just about everything it can to counteract the Trump administration’s cuts to the ACA. Yet ACA enrollment is down by about 16% this year in the state.

Between the lines: Enrollment is down across the board, compared to the same period a year ago.

  • Some critics and commentators have attributed to drop to the Trump administration’s actions — including the nullification of the individual mandate; steep cuts to outreach and PR efforts; and the expansion of bare-bones “short-term plans” that could compete with ACA coverage.
  • But New Jersey has done more than any other state to preserve the ACA’s intended structure. It has passed its own individual mandate; banned short-term plans; and gotten federal approval for a reinsurance program to reduce premiums.
  • It has also, per NJ.com, spent more than $800,000 to promote enrollment this year.

The bottom line: Trump’s anti-ACA moves have gotten a lot of attention, so it’s entirely possible some people in New Jersey don’t know they’re still subject to a coverage mandate.

  • But even so, all of this still suggests that an individual mandate isn't super effective at getting people to enroll, and that short-term plans don't explain too much of the nationwide exodus — since neither of those factors is relevant in New Jersey.

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