HHS recently announced that it would slash marketing, advertising, and signup assistance for the 2018 signup season, which begins Nov. 1. That the administration was reducing outreach should not have been a surprise, given that as soon as President Trump took office, his HHS leadership team pulled back on advertising and marketing during the critical final days of the 2017 signup season.
Spending on marketing and advertising for the 2018 plan year will drop from $100 million spent on 2017 sign-ups to $10 million. Funding for consumer helpers called “navigators” will be cut 40 percent – from $62.5 million for 2017 to $36.8 million for the coming season. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the agency responsible for overseeing the ACA, says navigators were falling short of their sign-up targets and wasting money and asserted that “the new funding formula will ensure accountability within the Navigator program.” (For more on the administration policy, see in this Vox story.) Continue reading