Updated Obamacare Enrollment Figure Dips To 8.7 Million

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

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(Reuters) – About 8.7 million people enrolled in healthcare plans for 2018 using the federal Obamacare marketplace, according to updated government figures released on Thursday.

The number represented a slight decline from the 2017 enrollment figure when about 9.2 million people signed up for health insurance policies from private insurers on the platform. It was slightly lower than the 8.8 million figure given last week by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The revised figure was due to some late cancellations, CMS said.

Proponents of Obamacare, as former President Barack Obama’s healthcare law is known, said the 2018 figure was relatively strong given President Donald Trump slashed the program’s advertising and outreach budget and cut the enrollment period in half.

Critics say the program is a failure as it is expensive and offers few plan choices.

The figures represent individual plan selections for the 39 Exchanges that used during the enrollment period which began on Nov. 1 and expired on Dec. 15.

The deadline was extended to Dec. 31 in seven states affected by storms, including Florida and Texas. The figures did not include selections from state-based exchanges which do not use the platform.

CMS said it would put out a final report in March including figures from those states.

(Reporting by Toni Clarke in Washington; Editing by Andrew Hay)