Consumer fear about the future of the Affordable Care Act public exchange system may be driving early sales of 2018 public exchange plans through the roof.
HealthCare.gov took in 2018 plan selection information for an average of about 150,000 people per day during the first four days of the open enrollment period for 2018, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
That’s up about 79% from an average of 84,000 per day during the first 12 days of the open enrollment period for 2016, according to a comparison of the new data with data CMS posted about a year ago.
(Related: Open Enrollment 2018 Crawls Into Open)
Plan selection activity for returning HealthCare.gov users has increased 83%, to about 116,000 per day.
Activity for users that are new to the exchange plan system has increased 67%, to 34,000 per day.
The new CMS figures suggest that the HealthCare.gov website might be working better than the HealthCare.gov call centers, or that the website might have an easier time increasing volume than the call centers do: The average daily HealthCare.gov user count has increased 70%, year-over-year, to 643,000. The average daily number of call center users has increased just 27%, to 132,000.
State-Based Exchange Programs
The new CMS report does not give exchange plan activity data for the state-based exchange programs.
ACAsignups.net, an ACA exchange activity tracking service, is reporting that early state-based exchange activity appears to be strong. In Maryland, for example, daily plan selection activity has been about twice as high as it was early in the fourth open enrollment period.
A HealthCare.gov open enrollment video (Image: CMS/YouTube)
Managers of HealthSherpa.com, a health insurance web broker, reported last week that its first-day application activity for 2018 was double the level of activity it recorded for the first day of the fourth annual ACA open enrollment period.