Despite President Trump’s predictions that Obamacare is imploding, about 299,000 Michigan residents enrolled in insurance plans for 2018 on healthcare.gov during the sign-up period that ended Dec. 15.
That’s down just 7 percent from last year despite efforts by the Trump administration to hamper enrollments and boost insurance premiums.
The numbers released by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Friday did not indicate how many Michigan enrollees will qualify for subsidies. Last year it was 83 percent, according to MLive.
Leading up to the annual enrollment process, the Trump administration cut the open enrollment period in half, from three months to six weeks, and slashed advertising and outreach by 90 percent.
Trump also eliminated payments to insurance companies, subsidies known as cost-sharing reductions, that reduce the expense of insuring high-cost enrollees. That drove up premiums on the Obamacare marketplaces by an average of almost 30 percent — 27 percent in Michigan — although low- and middle-income families who qualify for individual subsidies will mostly not feel the impact of the hikes.
Last week, Trump claimed the new tax bill “effectively repealed Obamacare” by eliminating the individual mandate which requires people to purchase insurance or face a tax penalty. The president mistakenly said the mandate was a “primary source” of funding for the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Enrollment figures were strong across the country, presenting a pleasant surprise to advocates of the ACA who worried that signups might plummet.
About 9 million enrolled nationwide by Dec. 15 and Obamace could still meet or exceed last year’s 12.2 million total, according to the Obamacare tracking site ACASignups.net.
That’s because 17 states, comprised of half the U.S. population, have extended ACA deadlines that last at least until New Year’s Eve and in most cases throughout much or all of January.
“This open enrollment period proves, once again, that people want and need the health and financial security that comes with health coverage through the ACA marketplaces,” said Lori Lodes, founder of the enrollment-assistance nonprofit Get America Covered.