...far surpassing 2017’s enrollment
Nationwide, open enrollment for 2018 coverage began November 1, 2017, and in most states, it ended on December 15, 2017. But state-run exchanges had some flexibility with the dates, as HHS revised the scheduled open enrollment period in April 2017. (It had previously been slated to last three months), and acknowledged that state-run exchanges might not be able to make the changes necessary to switch to the new schedule by the fall of 2017.
Total enrollments as of December 15 stood at more than 230,000, a year-over-year increase of 35 percent, and already ahead of 2017’s total enrollment of 225,000 people, despite the fact that there was still a month remaining in open enrollment for 2018 coverage.
By the end of open enrollment, the exchange reported that 242,850 people had enrolled in private plans for 2018, including 78,834 new enrollees. Total enrollment was up 8 percent over the prior year, and dental plan enrollment was up 12 percent.
The exchange published an enrollment report in early February, with data through January 26, indicating that total enrollment had grown slightly, to just over 243,000 people. General enrollment ended on January 15, but people with qualifying events can enroll during special enrollment periods (there’s a special enrollment period through March 1 for anyone who lost off-exchange coverage with Community Health Plan or Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington; people who are eligible for this SEP can enroll in a plan on or off-exchange).
Because of the way Washington handled the elimination of cost-sharing reduction (CSR) funding (adding the cost to only silver plans’ premiums, and letting insurers create new off-exchange only silver plans without the cost of CSR in their premiums), premium subsidies are significantly larger than they were in 2017. As a result, “most customers have a unique opportunity to receive additional tax credits that may cause their 2018 premium costs to be less expensive [than their 2017 premiums]” said Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.
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