The ACA open enrollment period for 2018 ended on December 15th, 2017. Preliminary reports indicate that 8.7 million people enrolled in Qualified Health Plans (QHP) for 2018. This is slightly lower than last year’s enrollment number of 9.2 million.
Of the 8.7 million total, about 2.4 million were new consumers while about 6.3 million were consumers who renewed coverage. However, this also means that roughly 2.9 million people who purchased insurance in 2017 did not purchase insurance for the 2018 plan year through the federal exchanges.
It is not known officially what happened to the 2.9 million people who had ACA insurance in 2017 who did not sign up for coverage for 2018, but it is widely believed that many of these individuals may have gotten health insurance coverage through another means such as from an employer or Medicaid.
Thirty-nine states use the federal exchange (healthcare.gov) while the remaining 11 states facilitate their own exchanges. The state-run exchanges can set their own enrollment periods and not all are aligned with the federal exchange. Data on state exchange enrollment likely will not be available for a few months.
Based on trends from previous years, the 8.7 million number is expected to decrease over the course of the year as people choose not to maintain coverage.
As previously reported, Congress eliminated the individual mandate penalty beginning in 2019 as part of the 2017 tax overhaul bill. Some fear that this could lead to additional drops in coverage in 2018.
As always, ADVOCATE will keep you up to date on this and all issues impacting radiology as they become available.
Kirk Reinitz, CPA