Enrollment Through Federal Exchange Remains Steady
Second year in a row customer satisfaction is at 90 percent—matching last year’s all-time high
Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the weekly enrollment snapshot through the December 15 midnight Eastern Time deadline for the 2019 Open Enrollment Period, and the preliminary data show enrollment remained steady. Open Enrollment for 2019 coverage ended with approximately 8.5 million people enrolled compared to 8.8 million people at the same time last year. These numbers are preliminary and do not represent final 2019 Exchange Open Enrollment figures.
“This Administration has taken strong steps to promote a more competitive, stable health insurance market and these steady enrollment numbers are yet another sign that the Administration’s efforts are working,” said Administrator Seema Verma. “With the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years, it’s possible that more Americans have employer based coverage, and don’t need exchange plans.
In 2018, employment increased by two million in states using the HealthCare.gov platform. Nationally, 90 percent of U.S. workers are employed by a firm that offers health benefits to at least some of its workers. In addition, due to the expansion of the state’s Medicaid population, CMS estimates that approximately 100,000 current exchange enrollees in Virginia will be eligible for expanded Medicaid.
“While enrollment remained steady through HealthCare.gov, many Americans don’t qualify for subsidies on HealthCare.gov and remain priced out of the insurance market. At the end of the day, lower premiums will lead to increased enrollment,” said Verma.
Similar to previous years, there was a surge in the number of consumers contacting the Exchange Call Center and visiting HealthCare.gov during the final days of Open Enrollment. Due to this surge, there were some consumers who had to leave their contact information at the Call Center. CMS has already begun the process of reaching out to those consumers. Any plan selections from these consumers are not reflected in the enrollment data released today.
CMS’s primary goal for Open Enrollment was to provide a seamless experience for consumers. Despite the strong volume in the final days, both HealthCare.gov and the call center operated optimally. For the second year in a row since HealthCare.gov was created, a waiting room did not need to be deployed online during the final days of Open Enrollment, and there was only one unplanned downtime, which lasted less than an hour. This meant consumers were able to shop and pick a plan with little interruption throughout the entire enrollment period. Data from the Call Center shows that the consumer satisfaction rate remained consistent with last year’s all-time high – averaging 90 percent – throughout the entire Open Enrollment period.
During this year’s Open Enrollment, CMS committed resources to cost-effective, high-impact outreach. Below are some of the outreach efforts CMS conducted during the 2019 Open Enrollment period:
- CMS sent over 700 million emails and text messages to consumers to remind them of the 2019 Open Enrollment.
- CMS sent more than 3.2 million outreach emails to help Navigators, agents, and brokers who assist HealthCare.gov consumers with enrollment.
- The Call Center has received a total of 5.6 million calls and is still working to get those consumers who left their contact information at our Call Center enrolled.
- CMS and HHS headquarters and ten regional offices have reached out to over 4,500 national and local television, radio and print media, including Spanish language media outlets.
- Senior Administration officials, including the Secretary and the Administrator, encouraged people to enroll through television and radio interviews broadcasted to more than 195 stations across the country and also used social media outreach to raise awareness of Open Enrollment.
To view the week 7 enrollment snapshot, visit: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/weekly-enrollment-snapshot-week-7