- Nearly 940,000 people have enrolled in Affordable Care Act plans during the special enrollment period that began in February and runs through mid-August, HHS said in a statement Thursday.
- Almost half of beneficiaries signed up last month alone, which is when increased subsidies kicked in because of the American Rescue Plan passed in March. HHS said people enrolling in April had average premiums of $86, a quarter lower than those enrolling earlier in the SEP.
- About 1.9 current marketplace enrollees have been able to reduce their premium payments, from an average of $100 to an average of $57, HHS said. And the median deductible for those enrolling in April fell nearly 90% to $50.
The ARP was a major part of President Joe Biden's plan to bolster the ACA, which the previous administration steadily pared back. The administration has also increased funding for navigators who help people find marketplace plans to a record $80 million.
The Biden administration began the SEP primarily to help people who have lost coverage due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic fallout. HHS said Thursday that of the more than 1.7 million people who submitted an application for ACA coverage, nearly 257,000 were discovered to be eligible for Medicaid.
Currently, the increased tax credits for ACA plans are temporary, but the White House has mounted an effort to make them permanent.
The Obama-era landmark law still faces a threat, however, as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule in the coming months on a case that argues the ACA is unconstitutional without its individual mandate. Justices seemed skeptical, though, during oral arguments last year.
The exchanges have become an increasingly attractive prospect for payers. For the 2021 plan year, more than 30 insurers across 20 states joined the marketplace while more than 60 insurers expanded their offerings, according to an analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The report also found that about three quarters of enrollees would have a choice between at least three insurers, up from just shy of half in 2018.