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Chart shows HealthCare.gov application activity has been a bit lower this year. (Chart: Allison Bell/TA)

Health insurers are still having better luck with keeping current individual major medical insurance customers than with attracting new applicants.

Managers of HealthCare.gov, the federal government’s Affordable Care Act public exchange enrollment and account administration system, told that story in a new batch of open enrollment period activity figures.

Renewal activity during the latest was almost as high as the activity level for the comparable week in 2017. But signup activity for new ACA exchange plan coverage was down sharply.

(Related: HealthCare.gov Activity Continues to Improve)

The number of people renewing coverage fell just 0.5%, to 549,118.

The number adding new coverage sank 17%, to 224,132.

Repeat customers account for more than 70% of HealthCare.gov coverage applications.

HealthCare.gov acts as a web-based supermarket for health insurance coverage from private insurers. It serves residents of 39 states.

The District of Columbia and 11 states have their own ACA exchange plan enrollment systems and report their enrollment figures separately.

ACASignups.net, an ACA tracking blog, is reporting that about 5.4 million people had paid for exchange plan coverage, or had picked coverage and were on track to make the first premium payment, as of Dec. 1.

Another 856,094 people, in Minnesota and New York state, had Basic Health Plan (BHP) coverage. A state BHP program uses ACA exchange plan subsidy money to help people buy inexpensive managed care plans through a process that involves the state negotiating coverage benefits and prices with the issuers.

The ACA individual major medical open enrollment period began Nov. 1 in most of the country and is set to end Dec. 15 in most of the country.


HealthSherpa — which is formally known as Geozoning Inc. — operates as a web broker and as an agent ACA exchange plan enrollment support service.

The firm accounts for only a small share of overall ACA exchange plan enrollment. HealthSherpa’s activity figures may be affected by the firm’s own marketing efforts and competitive environment, not just trends in the overall exchange plan market.

HealthSherpa is reporting that it signed 53,252 people up for exchange plan coverage during the week that ended Dec. 1. That’s up 56% from the firm’s exchange plan signup total for the comparable week in 2017.

— Read ACA Public Exchanges Lurch Back Openon ThinkAdvisor.

— Connect with ThinkAdvisor Life/Health on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Allison Bell

Allison Bell, ThinkAdvisor's insurance editor, previously was LifeHealthPro's health insurance editor. She has a bachelor's degree in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She can be reached at abell@alm.com or on Twitter at @Think_Allison.

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