Nearly one million people have signed up for insurance through HealthCare.gov and premiums have fallen for many enrollees during the current special enrollment period, according to HHS on Thursday.
The 940,000 new enrollees on HealthCare.gov from February 15 through April 30 represents an approximately 549,000 enrollee increase from the same period in 2020. HHS credited the American Rescue Plan for creating a special enrollment period. Those figures represent 36 states using the federal healthcare exchange platform.
The Biden plan also included expanding tax credits that would lower enrollees’ premiums. HHS said those tax credits lowered new enrollees’ average monthly premiums by 25%, and approximately 2 million people who returned to the exchanges saw 40% premium reductions. The median deductible for those selecting plans during the special enrollment period fell by 90%.
As a result of the pandemic’s economic downturn, 20 million people were left unemployed with many losing their health insurance. The Trump administration refused to open up a special enrollment period to all Americans last year, citing data that showed many Americans who had lost coverage used existing special enrollment periods to enroll in HealthCare.gov. Signing up for an exchange plan is often tightly restricted outside of normal enrollment, but individuals can sign up for new plans after a qualifying life event.
“Across America there is a need and demand for high quality, low-cost health insurance,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in the statement. “That’s why we are doing all we can to reach people who need coverage.”
Special enrollment sign-ups has been increasing, with 892,000 people enrolled from mid-December through May in 2020 and 704,106 the year prior.
From February 15 through April 30 over 14 million users have visited HealthCare.gov, according to CMS.
States like Texas and Florida, who topped a Families USA report of the highest rate of uninsured adults in May 2020 with 29% and 25% respectively, raised the amount of new consumers selecting healthcare plans by over 30% and 40% from February to April.