Affordable Care Act enrollments up in 2017 — Kentucky has second greatest percentage increase

By Kentucky Health News

Kentucky had the second greatest percentage increase in the number of residents who signed up for health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the 2017 signup period, compared to the year before. The number in Kentucky was 110.4 percent higher than the 2017 sign-up. The rankings may change as numbers come in from remaining states that extended their enrollment deadlines.

Charles Gaba, an independent analyst and writer of, found that Kentucky and 12 other states were ahead of their 2017 enrollment numbers and 11 were ahead of their 2016 enrollments. Gaba’s analysis compares 2016, 2017 and 2018 enrollment data for states that participate in either a state exchange or the federal exchange.

A big reason for Kentucky’s leading position is that its Obamacare enrollments in the state dropped last year, when the state moved from its own exchange to the federal exchange. Gaba, on Twitter, said the change had “confused people greatly.”

Enrollment dropped to 81,155 in 2017, from 93,666 in 2016. Between 2017 and 2018, the state saw an almost 12 percent increase, to 90,626, which brought the number of Kentuckians on subsidized Obamacare plans close to 97 percent of the 2016 enrollment total.

Another reason: Kentuckians who were enrolled in 2017 were automatically re-enrolled for 2018 unless they picked a different health plan. The year before, a full re-enrollment process was required, Dustin Pugel noted in a blog post for the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy.

Pugel, an analyst for the left-leaning center, said the numbers would have been even higher in Kentucky and the rest of the nation if not for efforts by the Trump administration that discouraged enrollment, such as an open-enrollment period that was cut in half and huge budget cuts to the national marketing and navigator budgets.

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