The number of new customers who have submitted an application and selected a health care plan through HealthCare.gov is down 33 percent since last year, according to new open enrollment figures released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
In the first 12 days of the open enrollment period that began on Nov. 1, 1,008,218 individuals signed up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. That is 69,658 fewer signups than last year, when 1,077,876 individuals enrolled in the first two weeks of open enrollment. This year's open enrollment period had two fewer days than last year due to a five-day week in the beginning of open enrollment.
Recent Stories in Issues
The number of new customers who selected plans for the 2017 coverage year declined 33 percent from last year. During this year's enrollment period, 246,433 new consumers selected plans, while 366,477 new customers selected plans last year.
More customers renewed their health care coverage this year than last by either selecting the same plan they had, selecting a new plan, or automatically re-enrolling in a health care plan.
The Obama administration announced in October that it would handpick plans for individuals who lost coverage because their insurer dropped out of the Obamacare exchanges.
"Around the second week of November, consumers whose insurers are leaving the market will get a notice that HealthCare.gov has matched them to another plan," the Associated Press wrote.
This year 761,785 customers renewed their coverage, up 7 percent from last year, when 711,398 customers renewed.
The number of unique visitors who interacted with the HealthCare.gov website during this year's open enrollment period declined by 836,578 visitor, or 16 percent. The number of people who window-shopped—or got price estimates before starting an application or logging into HealthCare.gov—also declined. HealthCare.gov was visited by 1,207,985 window shoppers this year, compared to 1,795,536 window shoppers last year.
"We are all in for this Open Enrollment and excited that over 1 million people have already signed up for 2017 coverage through HealthCare.gov," said Sylvia Burwell, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
"The American people are demonstrating how much they continue to want and need the coverage the Marketplace offers, and we are encouraging all Americans who need health insurance for 2017 to visit HealthCare.gov or their state Marketplace and check out their options."