Georgia’s ACA exchange enrollment for 2018 may fall far short of the current year’s totals, new federal figures show.
Through last week, 246,270 have signed up for coverage in the state exchange.
This is the last week for sign-ups.
There’s typically high enrollment activity in the final week of Open Enrollment for the exchange. But even with a surge, the Georgia total appears on track to be much lower than the close to half-million who signed up during the last Open Enrollment period.
The final number of Georgians who actually started exchange coverage in 2017 was 404,000.
“Georgia appears to be well below last year’’ in terms of a final enrollment projection, said Bill Custer, a health insurance expert at Georgia State University.
Nationally, more than 1 million signed up for coverage last week, bringing the enrollment total to 4.7 million.
One reason for lower sign-ups is that this year’s enrollment period is much shorter than the previous one, which lasted through January.
The later date, Custer said, may have led many people a year ago to think about taxes with the advent of New Year – and realize that not getting insurance would mean they’d have to pay a penalty.
Besides the contracted enrollment period, some people shopping for coverage on healthcare.gov have seen premiums jump from the current year. Those customers most affected are those who do not get a subsidy to afford coverage, available to a single person who earns less than $48,240 and $98,400 for a family of four.
The Trump administration has also made deep cuts in the marketing budget for the exchange, as well as in spending on enrollment events and for navigator organizations that help people sign up for coverage.
Among the 39 states that use the federally run exchange, Georgia again placed fourth so far in enrollment, behind Florida, Texas and North Carolina.
While these states face the Friday deadline, several states that run their own exchanges have extended their open enrollment periods beyond Friday.