Back in 2010, shortly after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, there were predictions that 30 million people would gain health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. That number was used to convince lawmakers to support the law, to sway public opinion, and to develop multi-year budgets.
A July 13, 2010 article by The Commonwealth Fund stated that the ACA would “provide health insurance coverage to some 32 million uninsured people over the next 10 years,” a number that looked totally unreachable after first-year Marketplace enrollments struggled to top eight million. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 8,019,763 people signed up for coverage through the Marketplace or a state-based exchange in 2014.
However, millions more did gain coverage due to expanded Medicaid, and around this time last year the White House announced that nearly “31 million Americans now have health-care coverage through the Affordable Care Act.” The Washington Post provides a breakdown of the numbers:
- 11.3 million had ACA individual plans.
- 14.8 million people were newly enrolled in Medicaid.
- “3.9 million Medicaid-enrolled adults who would have been eligible even before the Affordable Care Act” signed up as a result of “enhanced outreach, streamlined applications, and increased federal funding.”
Just seven years after the major provisions of the health care law went into effect, we had reached our enrollment goals.
And now, according to a January 10, 2022 report by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, we’ve actually exceeded those goals. With five days to go in the 2022 open enrollment period, “13.8 million Americans have signed up for or were automatically re-enrolled in 2022 individual market health insurance coverage through the Marketplaces since the start of the 2022 Marketplace Open Enrollment Period (OEP) on November 1.”
That’s an increase of about two-and-a-half million over 2021 and is a result, in part, of the enhanced premium tax credits created by the American Rescue Plan Act. President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, which was signed into law in March of 2021, increased the premium tax credits for individuals at all income levels, provided free coverage to those who had received unemployment in 2021, and eliminated the subsidy cliff for those earning more than 400% of the federal poverty level. The additional tax credits continue through the end of 2022.
Open enrollment is now over, but there are still opportunities to sell individual health plans throughout 2022. Those who lose employer-based coverage will qualify for a special enrollment period, as will individuals newly eligible for an Individual Coverage HRA (ICHRA) or a Qualified Small Employer HRA (QSEHRA). Other life changes can create special enrollment opportunities as well; see the Healthcare.gov SEP page for a complete list.
And for those clients who already have health coverage, now is a great time to talk with them about other lines of coverage, like life insurance, dental insurance, or supplemental coverage. Visit the carriers page of the AHCP website for inspiration and appointment information.