Increase in People Looking for Coverage, HHS Says

Increase in People Looking for Coverage, HHS Says

December 2, 2022 : The Biden administration announced recently that it’s seeing a significant uptick in the number of new clients buying private health insurance for the year 2023 from the Affordable Care Act’s arena.

Nearly 3.4 million people have registered up for coverage — an expansion of 17% compared to last year. The enrollment boost comes as the uninsured Americans this year attained a historic low of 8%.

“We are offering a good product, people are purchasing it,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra informed The Associated Press.

Almost 665,000 new people have purchased plans on the marketplace since open registration started on Nov. 1.

HHS didn’t supply any demographic details about the recent enrollees, but Becerra stated he hopes the agency is reaching people in marginalized residents. Already this year, the marketplace saw considerable increases in the number of Latino, Black, and Native Americans who desired coverage.

Between 2020 and 2022, the amount of Latino enrollees increased from 1.7 million to 2.6 million, compared to 1.3 million Black people registered last year, up from 900,000 the year before. The number of American Indian enrollees grew from 52,000 to 68,000.

“There’s a very substantial chance we are continuing to get communities that had been left back to sign up,” Becerra said.

The boost in registration is primarily driven by generous subsidies — developed through 2025 in the Democrats’ $1.9Tn coronavirus relief law that keep monthly dividends payments at $0 or just a few dollars per month for most people who register.

People can register for coverage on or via their state’s marketplace by December 15 to get coverage that begins on Jan. 1.

Industry experts will be watching to see if the solid start for the ACA’s open enrollment continues for the weeks to come.

“This demonstrates very strong demand for health insurance,” stated Massey Whorley, a principal at health consulting company Avalere. “Only time will tell if this is honestly, outsized significant growth, or if it is individuals are acting earlier in the open enrollment window.”

The record-low insurance costs in the U.S. could also be disrupted next year when the government is predicted to end the COVID-19 pandemic and boot millions of Medicaid recipients off the coverage. Whorley stated that that could drive more people to the federal marketplace in 2023.

“We’re going to be glancing at a period of significant flux,” Whorley told. “All of this points to more and more people reaching into the exchange.”