The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final snapshot for the Federal Health Insurance Exchange 2019 Open Enrollment Period Friday, Jan. 4, showing steady enrollment with more than 8.4 million consumers enrolled.
By comparison, 8.7 million people had enrolled at the same time last year. This represents remarkably steady enrollment at a time when a strengthening economy and job market may be reducing the need and demand for subsidized health coverage. There are several factors that may have contributed to this year’s enrollment.
At the time open enrollment began, there were more than two million jobs added to the economy compared to the prior year which resulted in the lowest unemployment rate in nearly 50 years. More people in jobs means more people with access to job-based health coverage, which should reduce demand for subsidized coverage. In addition, due to the expansion of Virginia’s Medicaid population, CMS estimated that approximately 100,000 2018 exchange enrollees would be eligible for expanded Medicaid.
“Congratulations to everyone at CMS who executed another very successful open enrollment period through HealthCare.gov. Our team worked day and night to ensure those who wanted coverage on the exchange could easily pick a plan,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “CMS remained committed to our primary goal of providing a seamless enrollment experience for HealthCare.gov consumers and the data shows that we achieved this goal.”
Consistent with last year, the consumer satisfaction rate at the call center remained at an all-time high – averaging 90 percent – throughout the entire open enrollment period and for the second year in a row a waiting room did not need to be deployed online during the final days of open enrollment. As a result, HealthCare.gov consumers were able to shop and pick a plan with minimal interruption throughout the entire enrollment period.
Similar to last year, CMS committed resources to cost-effective, high-impact outreach during this year’s open enrollment that increased as the deadline approached. For instance, CMS sent more than 700 million reminder emails and text messages to consumers, as well as 3.2 million outreach emails to help navigators, agents and brokers assist consumers. In addition, senior administration officials, including the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and CMS Administrator, encouraged people to enroll through television and radio interviews broadcasted to more than 195 stations across the country.
This snapshot represents final 2019 Exchange Open Enrollment figures including new plan selections, active plan renewals, automatic enrollments as well as late cancellations of active plan selections made before the deadline and cancellations of auto re-enrollment plan selections. CMS will release additional data in March, including final plan selection data from state-based exchanges that do not use the HealthCare.gov platform.
To view the final enrollment snapshot, visit cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/final-weekly-enrollment-snapshot-2019-enrollment-period.