This year, the enrollment season for the Affordable Care Act is shorter, but business in Missouri is brisk.
In the first four weeks of this year’s enrollment season, 78,676 Missourians enrolled in a plan, according to numbers released Wednesday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That’s about 17,000 more people than were signed up during the same period last year.
The 2018 enrollment season ends Dec. 15.
The higher enrollment comes despite steep federal cuts to advertising for Healthcare.gov and other exchanges, said Tim Williams, hub manager for the Cover Missouri Coalition. He attributes the numbers to two factors: enrollees are anticipating a shorter signup period, and plans for most people are less expensive than they were last year.
That’s not because premiums are going down — far from it. The Trump administration’s decision this year to end cost-sharing payments to insurance companies drove insurance rates up. But premiums also rose on benchmark plans, which are used to calculate the income-based federal subsidies given to low- and middle-income enrollees. For many consumers, the higher subsidies are cancelling out the rising premium, and passing the cost on to the federal government.
Read more: St. Louis Public Radio