Enrollment for 2017 Affordable Care Act exchange plans through the HealthCare.gov platform totaled 9.2 million, as compared with the 9.6 million who signed up during 2016 enrollment.
The figures do not include enrollment through state-based marketplaces, with those 2017 figures expected to be released in March.
New enrollment figures from the Department of Health and Human Services come amid a time of tumult for the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare, which President Donald Trump and a majority Republican Congress have said they plan to repeal.
The uncertainty, paired with a drop-off in promotion of the enrollment period after Trump took office, could account for the reduced figures.
“Obamacare has failed the American people,” said new HHS Spokesman Matt Lloyd. “We look forward to providing relief to those who are being harmed by the status quo,” presumably through a repeal and replace plan that has not yet been announced.
Plans sold through the ACA’s exchanges are expected to be preserved through the end of the 2017 plan year.
But there’s concern that the current administration could eliminate the health care law’s funding, jeopardizing the exchanges’ stability.
Major health insurers, including UnitedHealth Group Inc. UNH, +0.69% the nation’s largest, said last year they would withdraw from the exchanges in 2017.
Still, there’s some evidence that a repeal of the ACA stimulated enrollment, with the biggest day for the latest open enrollment period occurring the day after Trump’s election.