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ACA sign-ups down 11 percent so far, figures show

By Clyde Hughes
ACA sign-ups down 11 percent so far, figures show
Statistics from the federal government showed Thursday the number of people signing up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act for 2019 are down by more than 10 percent. UPI Photo | License Photo

Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Enrollment for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act is down 11 percent this year, figures from the Trump administration show.

Officials said Thursday 3.2 million have signed up so far in the first five weeks of the enrollment period -- down from 3.6 million at this time last year.

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Also down is the number of new customer signups, down 17 percent, compared to last year.

Larry Levitt, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, said lower enrollment could be a result of cutbacks in federal outreach efforts, an expanded Medicaid, lower unemployment, the repeal of the individual mandate penalty and expansion of short-term plans.

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Levitt said enrollment the figures came from 39 states that depend on the federal Affordable Care Act marketplace from Nov. 1 to Dec. 1. Idaho, Maryland and Vermont have not reported their figures yet. Of all states, Florida leads signups with nearly 800,000. Texas has 414,000 and North Carolina 185,000, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Healthcare analyst Charles Gaba said seven of the nine states that run their own marketplace programs are actually ahead of signups from last year. Gaba wrote that New York's have increased 15 percent, Rhode Island's 13 percent and Connecticut's 12 percent. California and Washington, D.C., he said, were down.

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This is the first year signups are taking place without the individual mandate penalty, which was scrapped by Congress this year. Anyone without insurance had been subject to a penalty of $695, or 2.5 percent of their household income.

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