Health

Record 16.3 million seek health coverage under ACA

A record 16.3 million people sought health insurance through the Affordable Care Act this year, double the number covered when the marketplaces first launched nearly a decade ago, the Biden administration announced Wednesday.


What You Need To Know

  • A record 16.3 million people sought health insurance through the Affordable Care Act this year, double the number covered when the marketplaces  first launched
  • More than 3 million new members joined the marketplace, according to the Department of Health and Human Services
  • President Biden and a Democratic-led Congress have comitted millions of dollars over the past two years into unlocking low-cost insurance plans for more people and prohibiting states from kicking people off Medicaid during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The boost in enrollment comes as the number of uninsured people in the U.S. is at an all-time low of 8 percent

More than 3 million new members joined the marketplace, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

“I promised to lower costs for families and ensure that all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. “Today, we received further proof that our efforts are delivering record-breaking results.”

“This is more than double the number of Americans who signed up for coverage during the first ever Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment in 2014,” he continued. “And for the more than 30 states that use HealthCare.gov, there has been a combined 50 percent increase in enrollment since I took office in January 2021.”

The government worked with nonprofit groups and invested in program specialists who helped to sign people up in low-income, immigrant, Black and Latino communities to enroll more people, said Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“We made unprecedented investments to expand our enrollment organization footprint into nearly every county in the country and targeted the hardest to reach communities,” she said.

The boost in enrollment comes as the number of uninsured people is at an all-time low — just 8% of those in the United States remain without coverage.

President Biden and a Democratic-led Congress have comitted millions of dollars over the past two years into unlocking low-cost insurance plans for more people and prohibiting states from kicking people off Medicaid during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Over the last few months, four out of five consumers looking for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act were able to find health care coverage for as little as $10 a month or less,” Biden cheered. “These lower rates — which were originally delivered as part of my American Rescue Plan — were set to expire at the end of 2022, but thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, we extended them and millions of families are continuing to save $800 per person per year on their premiums.”

“We’ve made record-breaking progress in expanding coverage and lowering health care costs for American families, saving them money and giving more Americans the peace of mind that comes with affordable health insurance,” the president added.

The marketplace itself has also evolved in recent years, with more insurers joining, giving an overwhelming majority of Americans at least three plans to consider during enrollment.

Those breaks on coverages were extended through 2025 under a major climate and health care bill championed by Democrats last year.

Some of that progress is threatened this year, with million of people expected to lose their Medicaid coverage starting this spring when states will begin the process of removing people who are no longer eligible, in many cases because their income is now too high to qualify.

Some of those who will lose Medicaid are expected to transition to the marketplace, and the administration said it is spending $12 million to keep information specialists on the job in the coming months to help people enroll in the health law’s marketplace if they lose Medicaid coverage.

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