HealthSherpa.com, a company that helps agents, insurers and employers get people covered, says it processed twice as many enrollments for the first day of 2018 open enrollment than it processed on the first day of the 2017 open enrollment period.
The enrollment period for 2018 started Wednesday and is set to run until Dec. 15 in most of the country.
(Related: Open Enrollment 2018 Crawls Into Open)
The administration of President Donald Trump has taken a mixed approach to launching the fifth major medical open enrollment period conducted under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) system.
Trump's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has reduced marketing support for the HealthCare.gov ACA account enrollment and administration system, and it has cut off payments for the ACA cost-sharing reduction subsidy program.
But HealthCare.gov managers have tried to do a better job of working with commercial insurance agents and brokers, and outside producers can now sell coverage for consumers who qualify for ACA premium subsidies through their own websites, rather than having to pass those consumers on to HealthCare.gov.
HealthSherpa.com says it's now helping six entities enroll people directly in exchange plan coverage and knows of 13 entities approved to provide direct enrollment services.
Another big web broker, eHealth Inc., the parent of the eHealthInsurance.com website, announced that it's also providing direct enrollment services.
Managers of HealthCare.gov, meanwhile, have taken some steps to promote the site's services.
The HealthCare.gov team has, for example, posted a short open enrollment video on Twitter. As of Thursday morning, that video had been retweeted about 1,400 times and attracted about 900 likes.
The HealthCare.gov team has also posted at least two new open enrollment period videos on YouTube. One of the videos emphasizes that the HealthCare.gov open enrollment period will now end Dec. 15, rather than on Jan. 31, as in the past few years.
Each of the new HealthCare.gov videos had received less than 200 views as of Thursday morning, but view counts could increase significantly over the next few weeks. The HealthCare.gov YouTube channel has 21,000 subscribers, and six of the channel's videos have more than 100,000 views.
—Read Non-Medical Health Earnings: Aflac, Unum, Genworth, CNO on ThinkAdvisor.