Obamacare sign-ups see late surge

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Obamacare enrollment remained relatively stable this year after a last-minute surge at the deadline boosted HealthCare.gov sign-ups to 8.5 million, the Trump administration announced on Wednesday. That represented about a 4 percent drop from last year — less than early indicators had suggested.

The open enrollment period got off to a rocky start and the final day was overshadowed by a federal court ruling that threatens to wipe out the health care law. Nevertheless, there were more than 4 million enrollments during the final week, reversing the downward trend.

The Trump administration quickly sought to take credit for the steady numbers, despite criticism from many health care experts that it had actively sought to undermine the market.

“This administration has taken strong steps to promote a more competitive, stable health insurance market and these steady enrollment numbers are yet another sign that the administration’s efforts are working,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma wrote on Twitter.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar last week had suggested there could be a late boost in sign-ups from people who were waiting for automatic re-enrollment to kick in. Average premium increases were modest this year, which may mean people didn’t shop around and instead let that automatic sign-up option trigger.

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