HealthSherpa says it has handled 2017 ACA exchange plan enrollment for 750,000 people. (Image: Thinkstock)

Managers of the Affordable Care Act public exchange system say that, in spite of some carriers’ withdrawals and critics’ attacks, they have scraped up year-over-year growth in enrollment activity. 

Related: HealthCare.gov ends 2016 with 8.8 million 2017 customers

The states that use the federal HealthCare.gov exchange enrollment system and states that run their own systems recorded a total of 11.5 million exchange plan selections for 2017 as of Dec. 24, according to officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The exchange system had 2.5 percent more selections for 2017 than it had a year earlier for 2016, HHS officials said.

In the past, about 85 percent of the people who have selected exchange plans have effectuated the coverage by paying their premiums.

About 80 percent of the enrollees will qualify for the ACA premium tax credit, officials say.

Officials reported signs of consumers reducing their share of the premium bills by shopping hard for coverage. 

Open enrollment for 2017 started Nov. 1, and is set to end Jan. 31.

The enrollment deadline for coverage that starts Feb. 1 is Jan. 15 in most of the country.

Covered California, a state-based exchange, says it will push its deadline for Feb. 1 coverage to Jan. 20.

Some big carriers announced widely reported moves to cut participation in the exchange program in 2017, and to cut or eliminate agent commissions.

But HealthSherpa, a San Francisco-based company that helps insurers, agents and brokers with the ACA signup process, says it has helped 250,000 people get covered this year, or about 2 percent of the people who have signed up for 2017 coverage, and has helped a total of 750,000 people over three years. HealthSherpa says it’s working with about 17,000 agents and brokers.

Correction: An earlier version of this story described HealthSherpa’s exchange activity volume inforrectly.

Related:

Obama administration adjusts ACA exchange program for 2018

Covered California faces post-election questions

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