The enrollment period for 2018 Obamacare policies starts on November 1, 2017 and it runs through December 15, 2017. That 45-day period allows millions of Americans to shop for, and enroll into, health insurance policies for the 2018 calendar year.
There is very bad news though, all of which has to do with pricing. While there are multiple types of insurance plans for consumers to choose from on November 1, 2017 (Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum), all the costs will be going up. The rates of increase will vary based on the health insurance policy selected; some will have greater increases in 2018 than others.
There have been some studies done on what the average increase will be for all policies sold. While it will not be a precise measurement, as the financial Gold, Silver, etc. numbers in effect may change over time, but it is estimated the average increase will be around 30% according to influential ACA-tracker Charles Gaba. This will be made up of the following average increases in ACA policies.
So, trying to determine the total impact to the 11 or so million ACA shoppers, it is impossible to determine. As more people may exit the Silver Plans (due to the major price increases) they may switch to lower priced Gold or Bronze Obamacare rates. That in effect would bring down the average 30% increase in 2018.
Not only will the number of people who apply on November 1, 2017 for each policy be hard to determine at first, another thing that will impact the monthly price increases will be whether someone receives government aid (also called a subsidy) or not. As the federal government does provide some financial help to pay for policies, and this money flows to those households that earn under 400% of the federal government poverty guidelines.
2018 expected ACA enrollment
The federal government is investing less money this year in advertising for ACA policies. The budget is being cut by tens of millions of dollars, which will reduce the number of advocates. A combination of less advertising, higher prices, and a shorter enrollment period are all expected to hit the number of people insured by Obamacare in 2018. But the demand is still expected to be very high when the application widow starts on November 1, 2017.
Last year there were over 12 million people on an Obamacare health insurance plan. It is expected that there will be only around 11 million that enroll in 2018. Some people may be priced out of the market. Others may turn to other programs that offer free health care, such as cut their insurance and use only a community clinic. Or they will try to enroll into a benefit such as Medicaid. There are many alternatives available to consumers instead of ACA supported health insurance policies.
There could a 10 to 15% reduction in the number of individuals with health insurance coverage. But once again, this figure will be impossible to know until the final application widow closes on December 15, 2017. Almost every expert, whether they work in the government or outside of it, do expect lower enrollment numbers this year though.