US Sign-ups pick up in week 5 of 2018 Obamacare open enrollment -U.S.

01:15  07 december  2017
01:15  07 december  2017 Source:   Reuters

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The number of people signing up for 2018 Obamacare plans picked up significantly during the fifth week of open enrollment , a U.S. government agency reported on Wednesday

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - Open enrollment for Obamacare 2018 starts Wednesday. Some things will stay the same. Consumers can still sign up on the federal exchange, healthcare.gov, or their state marketplaces.

A person walks into the UniVista Insurance company office where people are signing up for health care plans under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, on December 15, 2015 in Miami, Florida. © Joe Raedle/Getty Images A person walks into the UniVista Insurance company office where people are signing up for health care plans under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, on December 15, 2015 in Miami, Florida. The number of people signing up for 2018 Obamacare plans picked up significantly during the fifth week of open enrollment, a U.S. government agency reported on Wednesday, but the number of participants appears to be falling short of last year's numbers with just over a week of enrollment left.

For the week ended Dec. 2, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said 823,180 people signed up for 2018 Obamacare individual insurance in the 39 states that use the federal government website Healthcare.gov. That was up from 504,181 people in the previous week. About 3.6 million people so far have signed up for Obamacare plans using the federal website.

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Nearly 2.8 million people have signed up for 2018 Obamacare policies on the federal exchange during the first 25 days of enrollment season. “Another solid week for enrollment but we need it to pick up the pace to track enrollment from last year,” she said.

Sign- up pace slows in third week of 2018 Obamacare enrollment . Obamacare Sign - Ups Slow Slightly in Shortened Enrollment Period. Obamacare Sign - Ups Are Surging, but There’s a Twist. 14k Iowans sign up for Obamacare plans so far.

New consumer sign-ups rose to 271,207 from 152,243 during the previous week. An analyst said he expected a 20 percent decline in Obamacare enrollment for 2018.

The Trump administration halved the Obamacare open enrollment period for 2018 to six weeks ending Dec. 15, and cut the healthcare law's advertising budget by 90 percent. For 2017, more than 9.2 million consumers signed up for insurance plans using Healthcare.gov during the 12-week open enrollment period, which included people who were automatically re-enrolled at the close of the enrollment period.

Based on the government information, enrollment is likely to decline 20 percent in 2018 from 2017, Wall Street analyst Matt Borsch at BMO Capital Markets said in a research report. He projected that the final tally of Obamacare sign-ups, including those who are automatically re-enrolled and those purchasing in states that run their own exchanges, would be less than 10 million, down from 12.2 million in 2017.

Borsch said that despite the lower enrollment, profitability has been up on the exchanges for the three health insurers with the biggest numbers of customers there: Anthem Inc, Centene Corp and Molina Healthcare Inc.

The figures do not include enrollment in Washington, D.C., or the 11 states that run their own enrollment and websites, some of which have enrollment periods that are weeks longer. The subsidized individual insurance market is part of former President Barack Obama's healthcare law, commonly known as Obamacare. (Reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio)

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