Early returns show Obamacare numbers up 179 percent in first four days of enrollment

So much for killing Obamacare. The early response from the people is that they want it to stay.

Through the first four days of Open Enrollment, more than 600,000 people signed up on the Marketplace in the 39 states it serves. That was an increase of 179 percent from the 2017 enrollment numbers.

There is no telling if the rate of signups will continue. Since the signup period was cut in half by the new administration in Washington, it may be a case of urgency on the part of those wanting to sign up as soon as possible and not missing the Dec. 15 deadline.

One reason given for the huge jump in signups is that tax credits have increased dramatically from last year due to the fact President Donald Trump refused to renew cost-sharing subsidies. In the process, it caused the cost of silver plans – the only ones getting cost-sharing help – to shoot up as insurance companies scurried to add the cost-sharing out of their own pockets.

The average increase nationally was 19 percent on silver plans. The tax credits (which help lower the premiums) are keyed to the second most-expensive silver plans. Accordingly, the silver plan increase caused the tax credits to escalate dramatically.

Some have seen their tax credits double from last year, making their plans less expensive than last year. Most of my customers have come away shocked, but pleased with the increase in tax credits they get. One family of four got a tax credit of $3233 a month.

In many cases, they are getting a better plan for less – just as Trump promised in a 60 Minutes interview after being elected.

The ones hurt most by the increase is that group just above the income level where they would qualify for a subsidy. They are feeling the full impact of the increases.

Some of those individuals are looking at indemnity plans that have an ACA-compliant part to them. These cost from 40 to 60 percent less that a standard ACA-compliant plan on the Marketplace.

Hometown Health plans, which tend to have the lowest premiums, are also selling well among my customers. Anthem Blue Cross-Blue Shield is only offering a catastrophic plan in three counties – Washoe, Clark and Nye.

For information on enrolling on or off the Marketplace, give me a call at 775-224-7169 to set up an appointment. Five weeks remain in the signup period.

A reminder that Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) started Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7. I and my fellow brokers can also help you with a Medicare plan – either a supplement, a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Part D drug plan – so don’t hesitate to call.

Ron Bliss, an independent insurance agent in Carson City, is a former long-time sports writer who has sold health insurance on and off the exchange in both Nevada and California since 2011. In addition to major medical plans, he sells other ACA-compliant plans off the exchange, as well as Medicare supplements and Medicare Advantage. He also has short-term health plans, dental and vision plans and supplemental health insurance plans, as well as a variety of life insurance plans. You can reach him at 775-224-7169.


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