The Trump administration will devote $10 million to advertising and outreach for the 2019 open enrollment period, the same as for the 2018 open enrollment period and way down from Obama administration funding.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma previously told the Washington Examiner that the agency was likely to devote only $10 million for the 2019 period, which runs Nov. 1 to Dec. 15 for coverage starting Jan. 1. The agency said it aims to have the same amount of call center staff for 2019 as the 2018 open enrollment.
CMS hailed the 2018 open enrollment period as the “agency’s most cost effective and successful experience for HealthCare.gov consumers to date.” Residents in 38 states use the website to buy Obamacare coverage.
The $10 million for ad funding for 2019 is a 90 percent cut compared to the $100 million that the Obama administration devoted for the 2017 coverage year.
CMS said that for 2019 it would use a series of strategies to stretch the funding.
“CMS will continue to use similar marketing tactics from last year and focus funding and attention on the most strategic and efficient ways to reach consumers,” the agency said. “This year’s outreach and education campaign will target people who are uninsured as well as those planning to reenroll in health plans, with a special focus on young and healthy consumers.”
The agency said that consumers could now start to window shop for plans and browse healthcare.gov to select a plan before open enrollment starts.
CMS also touted new features for healthcare.gov that include allowing consumers to search for agents and brokers by the years they have participated in Obamacare’s exchanges.
The agency also now includes information on if a “particular plan covers abortion services outside of exceptions for rape, incest or if the pregnancy is determined to endanger the woman’s life.”