WASHINGTON (HPD) — A record 16.3 million people sought coverage under health care reform this year, double the number when the system was established nearly a decade ago, the government said Wednesday.
More than 3 million people signed up for the marketplace under the Affordable Care Act, known as “Obamacare,” according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
The government worked with nonprofit groups and invested in specialists who helped enroll low-income, immigrant, black and Hispanic people, said Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
“We made unprecedented investments to enroll in nearly every county in the country, making special efforts to reach the hardest-to-reach communities,” Brooks-LaSure said.
The enrollment surge comes as the number of people without health insurance hits a record low of just 8% in the United States.
Over the past two years, President Joe Biden and the Democratic-dominated Congress have invested millions of dollars to bring more people low-cost health insurance and to bar states from kicking people off Medicaid during the pandemic. The exchange itself has also evolved and now has more insurance companies, giving the vast majority of Americans at least three plans to choose from.
The changes to coverage terms were extended through the end of 2025 under a major climate and health care bill pushed through by Democrats last year.
Some of that progress is in jeopardy this year, as millions of people are expected to lose their Medicaid coverage as states begin the process of removing those who are no longer eligible, in many cases because their incomes will be too high.
Some of those left without Medicaid are expected to transition to the exchange, and the government announced it will spend $12 million to keep specialists hired to help people enroll in the marketplace created by the health law if They lose Medicaid.