Despite a surge in enrollment in HealthCare.gov coverage the day after the presidential election, plan selections for the first two weeks of open enrollment are just slightly ahead of last year's.
More than 1 million people have selected a plan through the HealthCare.gov marketplace in the first two weeks of open enrollment, the CMS said Wednesday.
About a fourth of those plan selections were made by new marketplace customers, while the rest were made by shoppers returning to the exchange to renew their health coverage for 2017.
Enrollment is moving at a slightly quicker pace than last year. Shoppers have made 53,000 more plan selections during the first 12 days of open enrollment this year than last year, the CMS said Wednesday.
The CMS' first snapshot of enrollment data details the initial 12 days of this year's open-enrollment period, beginning Nov. 1. Last year the data showed the first 14 days, so 2016 numbers appear higher. The plan selection data for the 39 states using the HealthCare.gov marketplace will be updated biweekly.
HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said last week that enrollment surged by 100,000 the day after Donald Trump was declared president-elect, the busiest day of enrollment so far.
“Consumers are concerned,” said Jennifer Sullivan, vice president of programs at Enroll America, a D.C.-based not-for-profit group that helps people enroll. “They value this coverage, and they want to do everything they can to make sure they are well-positioned to keep it next year.”
Some marketplace shoppers were confused about how the election might change coverage for 2017, and some wondered whether they should bother enrolling, Sullivan said. But Enroll America and other assistance groups are spreading the message that health insurance and financial assistance are still available, she said.
In the week following the election, more than 7,600 people scheduled in-person appointments, the best week since the end of the last enrollment period, an Enroll America spokesman said. A total of 18,925 appointments have been scheduled.
Sign-ups for coverage through state-run exchanges are also outpacing previous enrollment periods.
More than 16,300 people enrolled in Colorado's insurance exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, between Nov. 1 and Nov. 13, compared with about 12,500 during the same time last year. On Nov. 9, customers made more than 1,400 plan selections.
More than 20,000 people made plan selections through the Minnesota exchange, MNsure, in the first nine days. It took about six weeks to reach the same number of plan selections last year.
New plan selections in the Massachusetts Health Connector marketplace topped 3,800 between Nov. 1 and Nov. 13, compared with about 600 during the same time last year. More than 9,800 customers who had coverage through the marketplace in 2016 have made a plan selection for next year, a spokesman said.
In Idaho, 90,000 customers were automatically re-enrolled in coverage by Nov. 1, and the state's Your Health Idaho exchange has received 2,000 new applications for coverage in the first two weeks of enrollment, a spokeswoman said.
Observers expect to see an uptick closer to Dec. 15, the deadline to sign up for coverage that begins Jan. 1. The fourth open-enrollment period ends Jan. 31.