The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that enrollment in health plans through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) insurance marketplaces reached 8.3 million this year. This represents a 1.8 percent reduction from the 8.5 million people who enrolled in a plan through the insurance marketplaces last year. This figure does not represent the final 36 hours of enrollment, which were extended after technical glitches with the Healthcare.gov website interfered with the enrollment process on Dec. 15th.
These enrollment numbers are promising, considering that the current Administration has reduced funding for enrollment assistance and advertising for ACA plans while also reducing the length of the enrollment period. Furthermore, average premiums for silver plans experienced a reduction of 4 percent, which has improved plan affordability. However, CMS Administrator Seema Verma has lamented that not enough Americans qualify for premium subsidies, which makes plans unaffordable for many. This points to the need for additional reforms to improve plan affordability and to reduce the population of uninsured Americans.