HHS has seen a major increase in the number of people who have selected plans on HealthCare.gov compared with this time last year.
The Obama administration said Wednesday that nearly 6.4 million have selected plans that will begin Jan. 1. That's an increase of nearly 400,000 plan selections compared with last year. In the coming weeks the agency will share the number of people automatically re-enrolled and those who signed up on the state-based exchanges.
State marketplace officials in California, Colorado, the District of Columbia and Minnesota are also seeing enrollment rates surpass where they were last year. In D.C., for instance, new enrollments are up nearly 50%.
The milestones come as the future of the Affordable Care Act is clouded by the imminent inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. Congressional Republicans have signaled they'll move quickly to repeal the law.
HHS says it has received 30,000 calls from people asking if they should get coverage or re-enroll in light of the election results. Its response has been that the ACA is still the law of the land and that insurers have committed to honoring sign-ups through the end of 2017.
“We want uninsured Americans who have not yet signed up to know they have not missed their chance to get covered,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said on a call with reporters Wednesday.
Acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt said he thinks the enrollment surge has more to do with the affordability of the coverage than a sense of urgency driven by the looming threat to the ACA. The average shopper will be able to find coverage for less than $75 per month after premium subsidies.
Burwell and Slavitt didn't directly respond to questions on how much contact they have had with the Trump transition team to help ensure a smooth close to the open-enrollment period, which is scheduled to last more than a week past Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20.
Burwell said she spoke with Trump's pick for her job, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), to congratulate him on the nomination and that she was willing to speak to him again if asked for guidance.
Burwell added that the agency was working hard to ensure that staffers who aren't political appointees are prepared to continue with enrollment activities once she and Slavitt are gone.