On Thursday, January 27, 2022, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final numbers for the ACA sign-up for the coming year with a final record total of 14.5 million people have signing up.  Open enrollment for the federal marketplace ran from November 1, 2021, through January 15, 2022.  CMS indicated that 5.8 million people newly gained coverage under the Administration.

Of the 14.5 million people who have enrolled in Marketplace coverage through January 15, 2022, 10.3 million people live in the 33 states using HealthCare.gov and 4.2 million people live in states with their own exchanges. Seventeen states (and Washington DC) have their own State-Based Marketplace (SBM) sites. Enrollment remains open in the District of Columbia and five states (California, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island) through January 31, 2022. In addition, to date, the District of Columbia, Colorado, Maryland, and New York have established COVID SEPs that allow uninsured consumers to sign up for coverage past the initial OEP end dates.

The March pandemic American Rescue Plan lowered health care costs for most Marketplace consumers. According to the Administration premiums fell by 23%, compared to the 2021 enrollment period that ended before the American Rescue Plan passed. Thirty-two percent of HealthCare.gov consumers (3.2 million) selected a plan for $10 or less per month after the additional subsidies provided by the American Rescue Plan.

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 because 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.

CMS also released a Marketplace 2022 National Snapshot found at: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/marketplace-2022-open-enrollment-period-report-final-national-snapshot and a new report on increases in insurance coverage found here:  https://aspe.hhs.gov/reports/health-coverage-changes-2020-2021