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ACA enrollment 'surge' will likely be smaller than years past

Open enrollment is almost over. Photo: Alex Bradon / AP

Enrollment through HealthCare.gov closes on Friday, meaning it's time for "The Surge" — the rush of applications that usually coincides with big enrollment deadlines. Total sign-ups are lagging well behind previous years. If that gap is going to close even slightly, it'll be this week's surge that closes it.

The bottom line: Although there are theoretical reasons why this week could bring an especially big enrollment surge, the smart money is on a smaller-than-usual bump, leading to a significant decline in total enrollment.