Obamacare: Open enrollment for ACA ends Sunday amid record sign-ups

Obamacare: Open enrollment for ACA ends Sunday amid record sign-ups


Those who want Affordable Care Act coverage for 2023 have just a few days left to sign up. Open enrollment ends Sunday on the federal exchange and most state-based markets.

Some states that run their own exchanges, including California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island, as well as the District of Columbia, are allowing residents to sign up until January 31.

Registrations have already reached record levels. Nearly 16 million people have chosen Obamacare policies since open enrollment began on Nov. 1, up 13% from the same time last year, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

More than 3 million who chose plans are new to coverage in the Affordable Care Act exchanges for 2023.

“We continue to see record enrollment numbers due to increased financial aid from the Inflation Reduction Act and new eligibility for families, but we’re not done yet,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure.

The data covers the period through Jan. 7 in the 33 states that use the federal marketplace, healthcare.gov, and through Dec. 31 in the 17 states and the District of Columbia that run their own exchanges.

Affordable Care Act plans have grown in popularity since 2021, when Democrats who controlled Congress at the time temporarily increased the program’s federal subsidies as part of the coronavirus relief package known as the American Rescue Plan. Lawmakers extended that generous aid until 2025 as part of the Inflation Reduction Act — the climate, health care and tax package that became law last summer.

Enrollees pay no more than 8.5% of their income toward coverage, up from nearly 10% before the upgrade. Low-income policies can receive subsidies that eliminate their premiums. Also, those earning more than 400% of the federal poverty level are now eligible for assistance.

The help allows 4 out of 5 enrollees to find plans that cost less than $10 a month and saves enrollees an average of $800 a year in premiums, according to CMS.

Also, more families are eligible for subsidies on the exchanges this year after the Biden administration finalized a rule that addresses the “family mistake.” The rule allows family members of workers who are offered single affordable coverage but unaffordable family policies to qualify for subsidies on Obamacare exchanges for the first time.

About 1 million people are expected to either gain coverage or see premiums cut, according to the White House.

To inform Americans about these changes and help them choose plans, the Biden administration has poured funds into enrollment assistance and marketing over the past two years.

About 5 million uninsured people qualify for an Obamacare plan that is essentially free, according to a recent analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. In many cases, policies also have cost-sharing subsidies that lower deductibles significantly.

After open enrollment closes, Americans who lose health care coverage or have very low incomes can sign up for policies at any time of the year through a special enrollment period.

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