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Federal Exchange Enrollment Remains Stable for the Third Consecutive Year in a Row

Federal Exchange Enrollment Remains Stable for the Third Consecutive Year in a Row
This marks another successful Open Enrollment Period under the Trump Administration

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the weekly enrollment snapshot through 11:59PM Eastern Time on December 17, for the 2020 Open Enrollment Period with over 8.3 million people enrolled compared to approximately 8.5 million people at the end of the Open Enrollment Period last year on December 15, 2018. This includes those consumers who were granted an extension because they were unable to complete the enrollment process on December 15.  The preliminary data indicates enrollment continues to remain stable. As noted in the snapshot, these numbers are preliminary and do not represent final 2020 Exchange Open Enrollment figures.  The data released today signify another successful Open Enrollment period under the Trump Administration for the states that use the platform.

“We are reporting that for the third year in a row enrollment in the Federal Exchange remained stable,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “Far from undermining the Affordable Care Act – as some hysterical and inaccurate claims would have it – the Trump Administration is making the very best of what remains a failed experiment. For all our successes, too many Americans who do not qualify for subsidies still cannot afford premiums that remain in the stratosphere – constituting a new class of uninsured. The Affordable Care Act remains fundamentally broken and nothing less than wholesale reforms can fix it.”

There are many factors that impact enrollment each year. These numbers continue to represent strong stable enrollment in light of the ongoing growth of the economy, improving employment conditions and rising wages that would otherwise reduce the demand for subsidized coverage on the Exchange. Under the Trump economy, the unemployment rate is at the lowest it has been in 50 years. In addition, due to the expansion of Maine’s Medicaid program, CMS estimated that approximately 12,000 people are now eligible for Medicaid instead of tax credits.  Also this year Nevada transitioned to a State-based Exchange. Therefore, the totals included in this report do not include consumers in Nevada.  At the end of the Open Enrollment Period last year on December 15, 2018, approximately 84,000 consumers in Nevada selected a plan using 

The plan selections reported in this snapshot do not include plan selections for consumers who enrolled in coverage between 12:00AM and 3:00AM ET on December 18, or consumers who left their contact information at the call center due to high volume.  Similar to previous years, CMS plans to release an updated snapshot during the second week of January with the final enrollment data. 

CMS’s primary goal has been to provide a seamless Open Enrollment experience for consumers who want to enroll in Exchange coverage, and the data suggests that this goal has been met year after year.  For the third straight year in a row, the consumer satisfaction rate at the Call Center remained high – averaging over 90 percent – throughout the entire Open Enrollment period. We extended the deadline to sign up for January 1 coverage until 3:00AM ET on December 18. CMS took this step out of an abundance of caution to accommodate consumers who attempted to enroll in coverage before the deadline and were unable to complete the process.

Every year updates have been made to to improve the consumer experience. This year, CMS implemented upgrades to the Exchange system by transitioning operations to the cloud.  Migrating to the new cloud environment makes it easier to fix technical issues in real time and provide more flexibility with operations. This work was part of a multi-year effort designed to continually improve system operations over time.

For the first time, CMS expanded the display of quality rating information to the Exchanges to make it easier for consumers to pick a plan that best meets their needs. Starting with this year’s Open Enrollment Period, consumers were able to compare health coverage choices using a five-star quality rating of each available plan on similar to other CMS star rating programs. In addition to this, CMS made it even easier for more consumers to apply for coverage by expanding the availability of our streamlined application.  

Finally, Enhanced Direct Enrollment (EDE) was available the entire Open Enrollment period opening up new pathways for consumers to shop for coverage.  EDE allows consumers to complete the entire application and enrollment process directly with an approved insurance company or other online partner instead of going through All of this, combined with this Administration’s effective efforts to stabilize the market and offer more affordable coverage choices to Americans, led to another successful Open Enrollment period. 

Similar to previous years, CMS continued to use the most cost-effective, strategic and efficient ways to reach consumers.  The agency sent nearly a billion reminder emails and text messages to consumers increasing the frequency as the deadline approached.  CMS also sent more than 6.3 million emails to help navigators, agents, and brokers prepare for Open Enrollment and assist consumers. Lastly, senior CMS officials conducted television and radio interviews broadcasted to more than 310 stations across the country encouraging people to enroll in coverage.

To view this week’s snapshot, visit


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