Individual Health Insurance Signups for Covered California Up 25 Percent on First Day

The fifth open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act is off to a strong start in California, with 5,900 people signing up for new health insurance plans on Nov. 1 — 25 percent higher than the first day of open enrollment in 2016, Covered California officials said.

Open enrollment runs through Jan. 31, and it is too soon to tell whether the pace of signups will continue, but the initial numbers are one early signal that Covered California’s aggressive ramp-up in advertising, marketing and outreach efforts is paying off.

Covered California is the state-run exchange through which 1.3 million Californians enroll in health plans. This year, it increased its marketing budget 5 percent to $111 million, while the federal government slashed its marketing spending for open enrollment almost 90 percent to $10 million.

Signups in the 39 states that use the federal exchange,, held steady compared to previous years — despite repeated declarations by President Trump that the health law is dying. About 600,000 people enrolled in new health plans during the first three days of open enrollment in those states, which is roughly on pace with previous years, according to data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Thursday.

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