Jan 27, 2017

Insurers to Trump: Um, we need Obamacare signups

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Health insurers are getting a bit stressed over the Trump administration's decision to pull Obamacare advertising in the final days of open enrollment. Here's what Kristine Grow, a spokeswoman for America's Health Insurance Plans, the main health insurance trade group, said in a statement this afternoon:

At a time when the individual market faces challenges, we need as many people as possible to participate — so that costs go down for everyone. Balancing out the risk pool is an important action that can be taken now to help stabilize the market, improve affordability, and send strong signals as health plans develop their products for 2018.

Trump administration officials say they're mainly targeting $4 million to $5 million in TV and radio ads, and that the other sources of Obamacare enrollment information — like the website, the call center, Twitter, etc. — will still be available. "We aren't going to continue spending millions of taxpayers' dollars promoting a failed government program," said an HHS spokesman. "Once an assessment was made, we pulled back the most expensive and least efficient part of this massive ad campaign which was set to run over the weekend."

Why insurers are worried: There's usually a last-minute enrollment surge for Obamacare, mainly from young adults — but that was always when the Obama administration was making a heavy sales pitch. Last year, nearly 687,000 people signed up in the final week.

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