Last month CMS announced new records for people signing up for health care coverage through the federal and state exchanges under the Affordable Care Act with more than 13.6 million people signing up for ACA health insurance coverage for 2022.
From the start of Open Enrollment on November 1, 2021, through December 15, 2021, more than 9.7 million consumers enrolled in Marketplace coverage in the 33 states using HealthCare.gov. Open Enrollment continues through January 15, 2022. The December numbers are already 900,000 more people than the previous all-time high of 8.8 million who signed up during the 2018 Open Enrollment Period.
Thirty-three states use the www.HealthCare.gov federal exchange rather than their own sites. Eighteen states (includes Washington DC) have their own State-Based Marketplace (SBM) sites. Those states reported to CMS that through December 11 (week six), almost 3.9 million consumers selected plans or were automatically re-enrolled in a plan for 2022 health coverage. This is up from last year when SBMs reported that 3.4 million consumers signed-up in the 15 State-based Marketplaces for 2021, through week six.
Ninety-two percent of the people (through December 15, sign-up) who gained access through the federal exchange will receive premium tax credits for 2022 coverage. So far 400,000 people will receive those tax credits for 2022 because an expanded health insurance tax credit was included in the March 2021 Covid-19 relief package. Open enrollment continues to January 15, 2022 (although some circumstances such as unemployment allows for new enrollment).
Another improvement in this year’s enrollment is the expanding number of insurance options with 213 issuers offering coverage. This is an increase of 32 issuers compared to the 2021. CMS projects that the average consumer now has between six and seven insurance companies to choose from compared to the four or five issuers in 2021.
The Biden Administration has increased the number of navigators who can assist people in their enrollment and choices. The Trump Administration had reduced this support. There are now 1,500 certified Navigators as a result of an $80 million allocation by HHS. The grants, issued last fall, quadruples the number of navigators. The increased funding went to 60 organizations and are a multiple-three-year grants (paid annually). That is also new and designed to create stability and equity in the navigator program.
The federal enrollment is through January 15, but some states may have earlier or later enrollment deadlines. CMS has issued a chart found here that indicates the dates, information, websites and phone numbers for people living in these states with their own Marketplaces and time frames. For 2022, three states, Kentucky, Maine, and New Mexico, transitioned to State-based Marketplaces (SBMs) for 2022.
There is still time to enroll with the Administration extending this year’s Open Enrollment Period until January 15, 2022, for coverage that would start on February 1, 2022. This gives consumers an extra month to enroll in affordable and comprehensive coverage.
Consumers can enroll by visiting HealthCare.gov and CuidadoDeSalud.gov or calling 1-800-318-2596 to fill out an application. To find local help consumers should go to https://localhelp.healthcare.gov. Consumers in states with their own Marketplace SBMs can go to the chart listed above for contact numbers and websites.