Friday marks the end of the enrollment period for people seeking insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
What was once a three month sign up period was shortened to 45 days under the Trump administration. Jim McDonald, executive director of Enroll the Ridge in Jonesboro, said the decreased timeframe changed the approach of the Arkansas’s navigators who help people sign up for insurance.
“In the past where we spent a lot of time was in community outreach, but because of the shortened window I don’t think there’s time to do a lot of talk. You just need to beat the streets and, you know, beat the bushes and find people who want to be enrolled,” said McDonald.
According McDonald enrollment numbers spiked in the weeks before and after Thanksgiving. He expects another sharp increase in people signing up during this final week.
“I think we’re going to be seeing a rush to get people enrolled, for them to get enrolled,” McDonald said. “There was a lot of rumors there that the Affordable Care Act was repealed, that there was no way to get this done, when actually it remains the law of the land. So we’re just enrolling people and people are more comfortable now getting back to enrolling.”
In addition to shortening the sign up period, the Trump administration cut the federal budget for advertising for the program. McDonald said the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace has been effective at advertising despite those cuts.