Andrew Slavitt says it's time for policymakers to work together to improve the ACA in a bipartisan fashion. (Image: CMS)

 

Managers of HealthCare.gov say the public exchange enrollment system reached Jan. 14 with 8.8 million users enrolled in 2017 coverage or one premium payment away from having 2017 coverage.

The activity total is the same as the total the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the agency in charge of HealthCare.gov, announced for the end of 2016, but it’s up from a total of 8.7 million recorded a year earlier.

CMS set up HealthCare.gov to handle Affordable Care Act exchange plan enrollment for states unable or unwilling to handle exchange plan enrollment themselves.

The open enrollment period for 2017, or time when people can get individual major medical coverage without showing they have what the exchange system classifies as a good excuse to be shopping for coverage, started Nov. 1, when Barack Obama was president, and is currently set to end Jan. 31, under President Trump.

Related: Obama’s CMS sends invites to Trump’s health plan party

Trump will start his term in office by signing a series of executive orders, according to press reports. At press time, it was not clear whether any of the executive orders or other actions would affect HealthCare.gov or the open enrollment period.

Exchange plan use is only about half of what Congressional Budget Office analysts predicted before the exchange system came to life, in 2014, in part because employers have been much more likely to continue to offer group health coverage than the CBO analysts had expected.

But HealthCare.gov managers overcame severe technical glitches in late 2013 and 2014 and turned the system into a major distributor of individual major medical coverage.

Managers managed to push 2017 activity a little higher than 2016 activity in spite of strong headwinds.

Some large insurers withdrew most of their plans from the ACA exchange system shelves for 2017, and many of the remaining issuers raised prices and cut agent and broker commissions.

Andrew Slavitt, who ran the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as an “acting” administrator for two-and-a-half years, because of Obama administration difficulties with getting nominees confirmed by the Senate, said goodbye to CMS and HealthCare.gov watchers today in a series of tweets.

“It has been an honor to help serve Americans in their time of need,” Slavitt tweeted. “And I wish the team that will do this next success in their service…. The ACA wasn’t designed as an end product. It was designed for a patriotic government to support & improve…. It’s time to stop tearing down health care & get to work in a bipartisan fashion.”

Related:

HHS to HealthCare.gov issuers: You need to improve, too

 

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