- More than 2 million people so far have signed up for health insurance coverage during the special enrollment period for Affordable Care Act plans opened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused the nation to hemorrhage jobs.
- HHS officials said Wednesday that 34% of people who purchased plans since April pay less than $10 per month in premiums. Officials said the American Rescue Plan, legislation passed earlier this year, has helped drive down premiums for consumers thanks to the additional financial help stipulated in the bill.
- The SEP also served to help people who are already covered reduce their costs. About 2.5 million people, a significant portion of Healthcare.gov consumers, returned during the SEP to compare plans and switched to a less expensive plan, CMS head Chiquita Brooks-LaSure told reporters Thursday.
One of the first issues President Joe Biden's administration tackled after taking control of the White House was standing up a special enrollment period through the ACA marketplaces.
In the throes of the pandemic last year, job losses rocked the nation. In April alone, they smashed records as 20.5 million jobs were lost.
For many Americans, health insurance coverage is provided by their employer and without a job, they risked losing access to coverage altogether.
To catch those cut from insurance, the Biden administration opened a special enrollment period on Feb. 15, when the nation was still averaging 95,500 new COVID-19 cases per day. Even though the case count was still high, the U.S. was on a downslide from the peak of cases recorded in January.
Meanwhile, the Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program have seen record enrollment. Now, nearly one in four Americans are covered by Medicaid or CHIP. The high enrollment is partly attributable to the ban on terminating coverage through redeterminations during the public health emergency.
"When you make coverage affordable, when you make it easy for people to enroll, they will do so," Brooks-LaSure said.
The open enrollment period deadline is Aug. 15.