(Image: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)

Business at HealthCare.gov slowed during the fifth and sixth weeks of the open enrollment period for 2018 individual health insurance.

The Affordable Care Act exchange program manager received 2018 plan selection information for 1.9 million people during the two-week period that ended Dec. 9, according to new data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The number of people selecting plans was up 1% from the total for the comparable period in 2016, according to CMS data.

HealthCare.gov recorded strong activity gains during the first four weeks of the open enrollment periods. Thanks to those gains, the six-week plan selection total is up 17%, year-over-year. HealthCare.gov plan issuers are on track to be covering 4.7 million people Jan. 1, 2018.

(Related: HealthCare.gov Posts 7.6% Growth for Weeks 3 and 4)

For the two-week period ending Dec. 9, the number of applications from people new to the exchange system was down 4.4%, year-over-year. The number of applications from newcomers was up 13%.

HealthCare.gov received plan selection information for 1.2 million returning people and 660,191 newcomer people during that two-week period.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the parent of CMS, set up HealthCare.gov to run Affordable Care Act exchange programs for states that were unable or unwilling to handle all of the work themselves.

The District of Columbia and 11 states run their own ACA exchange programs.

ACASignups.net, a public exchange enrollment tracking website, reports that the locally run exchange programs have 2.3 million people on track to have exchange plan coverage in place Jan. 1. That brings the national total to 7 million.

The open enrollment period for 2017 started Nov. 1, 2016, and ran until Jan. 31, 2017.

This year, CMS shortened the open enrollment period. The current enrollment period started Nov. 1 and is set to end Friday.

A web broker eHealth Inc., reported today that 56% of the consumers shopping on its site were unaware that the open enrollment period ends Friday.

Some have speculated that the shortened HealthCare.gov open enrollment period could cut enrollment.

In the past, however, plan selection information has flooded into HealthCare.gov close to key enrollment period deadlines. Last-minute activity has thrown off enrollment projections based on mid-enrollment-period signup counts.

—Read HealthCare.gov Posts Strong Second-Week Results on ThinkAdvisor.


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