If you have members, family, or friends who need to enroll or re-enroll in a 2018 health insurance exchange marketplace plan under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), please share the following with them in light of a series of actions taken by the Trump administration.
The administration’s actions include cutting the ACA’s enrollment period, scheduling maintenance of the HealthCare.gov website during high enrollment days, and cutting ACA advertising and outreach efforts.
1. Open Enrollment Period has been cut by 6 weeks
Open enrollment for plans offered on federally-facilitated and state-based exchange marketplaces begins Wednesday, November 1, 2017, and runs until midnight December 15, 2017.
Some state-based exchange marketplaces have longer enrollment periods, that run beyond December 15, so check with your state.
2. The HealthCare.gov website will be down and taken offline for 12 hours on Sundays during open enrollment
This “scheduled maintenance” will further lessen enrollment opportunities of consumers in an exchange plan.
3. Advertising and outreach for 2018 open enrollment has been cut from $100 million to $10 million
Don’t expect to see much in the way of television or other media ads. The administration cut federal funding for ACA open enrollment outreach efforts by 90% compared to last year.
The administration announced that it will not participate in state-based open enrollment activities organized by navigator groups.
4. The Administration has indicated that it intends to automatically re-enroll people the day after 2018 open enrollment ends
In previous years, current enrollees were encouraged to visit HealthCare.gov to shop for new plans if they did not want to be automatically re-enrolled in their current plan. The administration has announced that consumers will be re-enrolled in their current exchange plans one day after the open enrollment period ends which is December 16, 2017 for most states. In previous years, consumers who were re-enrolling in a plan had a month and a half before the end of open enrollment to make a change to their plan selection. As a result, current enrollees may not have enough time to shop for new health plans.
If consumers miss the deadline to enroll in a plan of their choice, they will not be able to make any changes to their current plan until the next coverage year or if the person qualifies for a special enrollment period.
For those of you who would like a deeper dive on what to expect with the upcoming ACA exchange marketplace open enrollment period that starts on November 1, the Alliance for Health Policy held a webinar on October 24, 2017 that you may want to view along with a slide presentation.
The webinar can be found at http://www.allhealthpolicy.org/marketplace-open-enrollment-preview/ and the 2018 ACA enrollment slide presentation at