Hoping to make up part of the difference, former President Barack Obama is turning to social media and an advertising firm is calling for donated ads and media space. HealthCare.gov has new features meant to make it more user- friendly and the call center is fully staffed.
Obama's efforts to advertise the enrollment window during his administration included making a video on Snapchat where he used a filter on his face, for BuzzFeed where he used a selfie stick, and on amusing or Die's series "Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis".
These changes - combined with President Donald Trump's repeated declarations that Obamacare is dead - could mean a lot fewer people will enroll for 2018.
"We're in that middle bracket that doesn't get any help", Read said. "You shouldn't even mention it anymore".
"Spread the word to make sure everybody knows that it's time to get covered on HealthCare.gov, because this country works best when we look out for one another", he said in the clip released by Get America Covered, a coalition that is promoting the law. The law's marketplaces provide access to insurance to people who can not get affordable health benefits through a job.
In 2016, about $100 million was spent on advertising and 9.2 million people signed up for health coverage through the federal exchange.
The website is still www.health care.gov, with coverage beginning or renewing January 1. In fact, eight in 10 people this year can find plans for $75 a month or less.
"It may be harder to get an appointment" if you need assistance, says Karen Pollitz, senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
How can that be?
The Trump administration, however, is stressing how much premiums will rise, saying this is yet another sign that Obamacare is irreparably broken.
In both instances, subsidies are going up a similar amount, therefore offsetting much of the increase in premium rates.
Substantial premium increases two years in a row could lead fewer people to buy coverage.
The standard advice applies even more this year.
This is a big deal because some policies will be far costlier next year.
Enrollment this year is likely to be challenging: The open period has been cut shorter than previous years, and premiums are spiking due largely to uncertainty among insurers over the fate of health care reform. "That's what we want everyone to know".
One group that could see the highest rates will be those making more than 400% of the federal poverty level ($98,400 for a family of four). These cost-sharing subsidies reduce deductibles and co-pays for lower income enrollees. She doesn't qualify for premium subsidies and purchased the plan in the individual market outside of Covered California.
Most consumers, however, will be shielded from the rate hikes. "If people purchase plans merely based on the premium, they may not be able to afford the co-pays and deductibles". HHS notes that the average monthly premium for the Silver benchmark plan increased 37% for a typical 27-year-old, to $411 a month.
These more generous subsidies will make bronze plans - which have lower premiums, but higher deductibles - more affordable for many enrollees.
With insurers exiting the market, about half of counties will only have one participating carrier offering plans. Silver plans will have an average deductible of just over $4,000 next year. Almost 2,000 Dane County residents have benefited from this program.
Not everyone, however, will be so fortunate. They may be better off buying bronze or gold plans or looking for individual coverage outside of the Obamacare exchanges.