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Obamacare signups fall 4% this year to 8.5 million amid uncertainty about future of health law

Obamacare signups fell for a second year to 8.5 million as changes made by the Trump administration to scale back the health-care law took hold and legal challenges left the fate of the Affordable Care Act in question, according to new federal data released Wednesday.

Approximately 8.8 million people signed up for coverage at the same time last year, according to the CMS. The agency added that the numbers released Wednesday are preliminary and do not represent final 2019 figures.

“This Administration has taken strong steps to promote a more competitive, stable health insurance market and these steady enrollment numbers are yet another sign that the Administration’s efforts are working,” Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. “With the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years, it’s possible that more Americans have employer based coverage, and don’t need exchange plans.

Open enrollment, which began Nov. 1, closed Saturday across most of the country. People who didn’t sign up for a plan by the end of open enrollment won’t be able to obtain coverage until the fall of 2019, unless they have a so-called qualifying life event such as getting married or having a child.

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