Nearly 1.7 million people have signed up for 2020 health coverage though the federal insurance exchange in the first three weeks of open enrollment, the CMS said Wednesday.
That's down about 13% compared with the same period last year, when a little more than 1.9 million people had selected a plan.
However, the gap in weekly sign-ups between open enrollment for 2020 and 2019 appears to be closing. The CMS data showed that 737,352 people signed up for coverage during the third week, down just 1.5% year over year. Sign-ups during the second week were down 6.2% compared to the second week of open enrollment last year.
The figures reflect signups in the 38 states that use the HealthCare.gov platform. In those states, open enrollment ends on Dec. 15.
Technical issues that prevented some people from choosing a plan on the first day of open enrollment could have contributed to the lower sign-up total, but it likely doesn't tell the whole story.
Josh Peck, co-founder of national campaign Get America Covered and former chief marketing officer for HealthCare.gov, has blamed the Trump administration's "lack of effort" to promote open enrollment.
"There is an acute lack of awareness that enrollment is happening, a huge perception gap between how much people think HealthCare.gov plans cost and how much they actually cost, aggressive marketing campaigns for short term plans, as well as continued uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act among the uninsured," he wrote in a blog post Wednesday.
According to Peck's analysis, enrollment is down is every HealthCare.gov except Mississippi.