Those who want Affordable Care Act coverage for 2023 have only a few days left to sign up. Open enrollment ends Sunday on the federal exchange and most state-based marketplaces.
A few 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 enroll as late as January 31.
Sign-ups have already hit record levels. Nearly 16 million people have selected Obamacare policies since open enrollment began on November 1, up 13% from the same time last year, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
More than 3 million who picked plans are new to coverage on the Affordable Care Act exchanges for 2023.
“We continue to see historic enrollment numbers due to increased financial assistance from the Inflation Reduction Act and new eligibility for families, but we’re not done yet,” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said.
The data covers the period through January 7 in the 33 states that use the federal marketplace, healthcare.gov, and through December 31 in the 17 states and the District of Columbia that manage their own exchanges.
Affordable Care Act plans have grown in popularity since 2021, when the Democrats who controlled Congress at the time temporarily enhanced the program’s federal subsidies as part of the coronavirus relief package known as the American Rescue Plan. Lawmakers extended that generous help through 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, down from nearly 10% prior to the enhancement. Lower-income policyholders can receive subsidies that eliminate their premiums. Also, those earning more than 400% of the federal poverty level are now eligible for help.
The assistance 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 addressing the “family glitch.” The rule allows family members of workers who are offered affordable single coverage but unaffordable family policies to qualify for subsidies on the Obamacare exchanges for the first time.
About 1 million people are expected to either gain coverage or see reductions in premiums, according to the White House.
To inform Americans of these changes and help them pick plans, the Biden administration has poured funds into enrollment assistance and marketing over the past two years.
About 5 million uninsured people are eligible for an Obamacare plan that is essentially free, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation analysis. In many cases, the policies also have cost-sharing subsidies that significantly lower deductibles.
After open enrollment closes, Americans who lose their health care coverage or have very low incomes can sign up for policies at any point in the year through a special enrollment period.