Affordable Care Act enrollment outpacing last year's sign-ups

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Nationally, 9.2 million people signed up for insurance plans on the federal exchange during open enrollment past year.

The enrollment snapshot released Wednesday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services covers signups through last Saturday.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said that 504,181 people signed up for 2018 Obamacare individual insurance in the 39 states that use the federal government website for the week ended November 25, down from 798,829 people in the previous week.

That's a roughly 40 percent increase from 2016.

State-based exchanges report their enrollment tallies separately.

The pace of people signing up for individual insurance under Obamacare slowed significantly during the fourth week of 2018 enrollment, as almost 37 percent fewer people signed up for the health care plans than in the previous week, a USA government agency reported on Wednesday.

This enrollment activity comes despite higher premiums, a 90 percent decrease in advertising funds, less money for navigators who provide enrollment assistance, and a heated political debate over whether or not the ACA, often called Obamacare, should still exist.

Get America Covered, an Obamacare advocacy group founded by former Obama administration health officials, said that enrollments last week continued to outpace precious Thanksgiving weeks.

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She also noted the rate of sign-ups tends to accelerate each year in the final days of open enrollment. 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 a year ago.

While the Trump administration has repeatedly tried to repeal Obamacare, Illinois residents are still taking advantage of it in droves.

John Hubbard, a volunteer for the Chattanooga-based ACA assistance group Enroll the Region, said there could be several reasons why early enrollment is higher, but it could be that this year's deadline was moved up to December 15, shortening the enrollment period. Most other states that have their own exchanges have later deadlines this season.

A shorter enrollment period may have prompted earlier sign-ups, along with better deals on the exchange, she said.

Of the customers who selected a plan on last week, 351,938 people were returning customers, and 152,243 were new enrollees. The totals so far this year don't include people who are being automatically re-enerolled in plans.

The proposed bill aims to scrap the act's "individual mandate" that requires everyone have health insurance or pay a tax penalty.

Although some would agree the website is confusing, that hasn't stopped over 95,000 IL residents from enrolling in an Obamacare health insurance plan this year according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.