Health Exchange Enrollment Begins With Smaller Budget, New Strategies

Nov 1, 2017

Open enrollment to buy health insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchanges began Wednesday, but the enrollment period this time around is shorter than ever.

The Trump administration has cut the federal enrollment window down to just 45 days. In Connecticut, the deadline has been extended beyond that by one week.

Trump has also slashed the national advertising budget for Obamacare enrollment by 90 percent.

Erika Franklin Fowler of the Wesleyan Media Project has studied how advertising affects enrollment in health insurance. She told Marketplace that when the state of Kentucky sharply dropped advertising for its health exchange, that resulted in “450,000 fewer page views per week on the website.”

Half the people who enroll in Connecticut come in through the website, according to Jim Wadleigh, CEO of Access Health CT. He said there’s been an effort to make that online experience easier and more effective.

“Some of those changes being additional tools to help them pick plans that are better for their family’s needs,” Wadleigh said. “The other half of our customers are coming in through our call center and so you can imagine, it's going to be very challenging to be able to answer all those phone calls.So what we’ve done is we’ve opened up ten enrollment locations around Connecticut”

Deadline for enrollment in Connecticut is December 22.