On January 25, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that a record 16.3 million people had enrolled in coverage through Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace Coverage, including 3.6 million new enrollees. This is a record number—a 13% increase over last year—despite not yet including final numbers from states, some of which keep their exchanges open until the end of January.
A number of factors may be at play. First, plan costs are lower because Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which lowered premiums and made more people eligible for tax credits to defray costs. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 extended these savings until 2025.
In addition, the Biden-Harris administration also increased funding starting in 2021 for people and organizations who help consumers find plans. These navigators provide a vital, unbiased source of information like Medicare’s State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs).
Getting people into coverage is vital every year, but this year it is especially urgent given the looming end of the continuous coverage requirement in Medicaid. Many experts predict sharp coverage losses through Medicaid as the public health emergency unwinding begins. The Kaiser Family Foundation, for example, estimates 5-14 million people losing Medicaid coverage.
Ensuring that people are enrolled in health coverage is important to protect their personal and financial well-being as well as public health and health system stability. We are encouraged by this increase in ACA enrollment and hope this and future administrations will build on these successes and further reduce the number of uninsured people nationally.