WOODRUFF: The deadline for buying health insurance in the federal marketplace for the coming year is tomorrow — just one day away The demand during each week of enrollment has been higher this year, including last week, where there were signs of a surge

But the length of the enrolment period is just half of what it was in previous years So, enrollment seems to end up quite far behind Four-point-seven million people have signed up so far this year, compared to 9 million-plus who enrolled by the end of last year`s longer enrolment period Mary Agnes Carey of Kaiser Health News has more and joins me now Welcome back, Mary Agnes

So, the pace has been picking up, is that right? MARY AGNES CAREY, KAISER HEALTH NEWS: Absolutely, it has been It`s ahead of last year, new enrollment, for example, is up about 17 percent Overall enrollment, about 650,000 people more than last year But we have to remember, your point about the open enrollment period is a lot shorter It used to go to January 31st for everyone

Now, for the 39 states that are served by the federal marketplace, that deadline, as you know, is tomorrow So, that is really a big difference WOODRUFF: Cut way back And you were telling me, that`s not the only factor out there that is going to be an incentive for fewer enrollments this year CAREY: Right

When you look at this year, things were very different The federal government spent 90 percent less on enrollment and outreach They are doing some outreach now on text and email to get people to come back to the marketplace The on-the-ground assistance, the navigators, the assisters, that was cut by 40 percent The insurers have been out there advertising to try to counteract that, but that has been a bit of an issue

WOODRUFF: You were saying some of this may be countered by automatic and re-enrollment, which is going to happen once this ends CAREY: Right A very important thing for people to know is if you`re currently enrolled in the Affordable Care Act, and you`re on the federal exchange and you don`t act before tomorrow, you will be automatically re-enrolled, either in your current plan or another plan Either one of those might be something you should not be enrolled in You should get online

If you qualify for assistance, what`s your subsidy? Can you get a better deal? Can you get a better plan? WOODRUFF: And just quickly, just to remind people what the government was doing under the Obama administration to remind people about this was just much more out there, wasn`t it, than what`s happening now? CAREY: Right You had cabinet secretaries out talking about this You had President Obama out doing all sorts of videos and outreach That has really changed Part of the reason for the Trump administration has thought, you know, it`s the fifth enrollment year

People know what the enrolment is, what this plan is They feel that email and texts are more effective outreach, but that has been part of the thinking WOODRUFF: And, finally, Mary Agnes, this tax bill working its way through Congress We know in the final hours and days, part thereafter bill is rolling back individual mandate in Obamacare, requiring individuals to have health insurance How is that seen as affecting this sign-up? AGNES: Well, some people are confused

Some people wonder if the law still exists They wonder if the individual mandate still exists But an important thing to think about is if the individual mandate would be rolled back, the Congressional Budget Office has said that could increase premiums by 10 percent more over the next decade Thirteen million more people may be uninsured, and it may mean the people who enroll are the sicker people that absolutely need coverage And if you have sicker people in your risk pool and not healthy folks to balance it out, prices will go up

WOODRUFF: So much to think about as we watch that clock winding down to the last day Mary Agnes Carey, thank you CAREY: Thank you

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