Preliminary numbers show 8.8 million people bought health insurance plans through the federal exchange this year nationwide. That’s 96 percent of last year’s sign-ups, despite a lot of changes to the Affordable Care Act and a shorter window to enroll. Sign-ups in the Carolinas were also close to that of last year.
It’s not a surprise fewer people bought plans through the federal marketplace because the open enrollment period was half the length it was last year. But even with significant cuts to federal spending on advertising and enrollment assistance, this year’s numbers only lagged last years by about 400,000.
In North Carolina. early numbers show 523,989 people bought plans. That’s just 25,000 fewer sign-ups than 2016. North Carolina didn’t have any cuts to its enrollment assistance, but South Carolina lost about half its federal dollars. That didn’t seem to impact sign-ups. In South Carolina this year, 218,435 people bought coverage, which lags last year’s numbers by a little more than 10,000.
Federal numbers show a surge in sign-ups during the last week of open enrollment. Just about half of the 8.8 million people who bought health insurance plans did so during the seventh week of open enrollment.