Trump administration cuts funding for health care sign-ups

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Administration officials say the government hasn’t gotten much bang for its buck as far as ACA advertising and the navigator program, with some enrollment centers signing up very few customers.

Democrats are likely to accuse the administration of trying to undermine the program, which President Donald Trump says is going to “implode.”

A number of states that operate their own insurance exchanges have extended the open enrollment period beyond the November 1 to December 15 period on the federal marketplace, healthcare.gov. California, Minnesota, Colorado and others have set January enrollment deadlines.

CMS’ decision to cut exchange advertising for next year comes just ahead of a September 5 deadline for insurers to submit final rate revisions for 2018. It underscores health insurers’ continuing concerns about the Trump administration’s commitment to promoting enrollment.

“Effective education ensures that consumers understand their coverage options and encourages broader participation of healthy individuals,” said Kristine Grow, spokeswoman for the Association of Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s lobbying group. “Marketing, outreach, and education are critical to ensure that all consumers are aware of the upcoming open enrollment period, understand new timelines, and enroll by the deadline.”

Slavitt notes that, In addition to cutting funding for enrollment efforts, the Trump administration cut the enrollment period in half this year to just six weeks, compared to three months over the last few years.

“I think it’s their hope that at the end of the enrollment period that they can announce significantly lower enrollment. At least, that appears to be their hope. It that’s their objective, I’m sure they can achieve it,” Slavitt Said.

Consumer advocacy group Protect Our Care denounced the Trump administration’s move.

“It’s one thing to tweet about your opposition to a law, it’s another to undermine it, sabotage it and refuse to do your duty,” the group said in a statement Thursday.

–The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Trump administration cuts funding for health care sign-ups

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