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Affordable Care Act health plan signups lag in Michigan

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

The deadline to sign up for 2019 Affordable Care Act health plans is less than two weeks away, and fewer new Michiganders are signing up for Obamacare.

It’s not just Michigan. Online signups on the online Obamacare marketplace are down nationwide.

Analysts point to several possible reasons why fewer people are signing up for health insurance through the ACA marketplace. 

There is concern that some people who are eligible for the program don’t realize time is running out to sign up for health insurance.

Karen Pollitz is a senior fellow with the Kaiser Family Foundation. She tracks implementation of private market changes.

She says federal spending cuts in advertising and programs to assist people to sign up through the online marketplace may be keeping new people from signing up.

“It’s the new customers who may need help signing up who may not know the deadlines; who may need to see an ad or have something else to kind of bolster them and help get them into coverage,” says Pollitz.

Another reason for fewer people signing up for ACA plans could be the elimination of the federal penalty for not having health insurance coverage. Or maybe not.

Ashley Kirzinger is a senior survey analyst for the public opinion and survey research team of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“We are still finding that there is a share of the population, that regardless of having a mandate penalty and now not having a mandate penalty, they are just are not going to be buying coverage,” says Kirzinger.

The deadline for people eligible for ACA coverage is Dec. 15th.  

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.