Health

Increase the number of market participants in accordance with the Affordable Care Act by 2023.

The Biden administration announced on Tuesday that it is seeing significant growth in new customers buying private health insurance for 2023 in the Affordable Care Act marketplace.

About 3.4 million people signed up for coverage, up 17% from the same period last year. The increase in coverage comes as the number of uninsured Americans hit an all-time low of 8% this year.

“When you have a good product, people will buy it,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra told The Associated Press.

Over 665,000 new people have purchased plans on the market since open enrollment began on November 1st.

HHS hasn’t provided any demographic data on new applicants, but Becerra said he hopes the agency is working with people from marginalized communities. Already this year, the market has seen a huge increase in blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans looking for coverage.

Between 2020 and 2022, Latino enrollments jumped from 1.7 million to 2.6 million, while 1.3 million blacks enrolled last year, up from 900,000 a year earlier. The number of American Indians enrolled increased from 52,000 to 68,000.

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“There is a very strong possibility that we continue to bring in the communities that are left behind to register,” Becerra said.

Enrollment growth is driven in large part by generous subsidies extended through 2025 under the $1.9 trillion Democrats Coronavirus Relief Act, which keep monthly premiums at $0, or just a few dollars a month for most people who register.

People can sign up for coverage on HealthCare.gov or their state marketplace through December 15th to receive coverage starting January 1st.

Experts will be monitoring whether the active start of open enrollment at the ACA continues over the next few weeks.

“This is indicative of very strong demand for health insurance,” said Massey Worley, chief executive of consulting firm Avalere. “Only time will tell if this is really a significant significant increase or if it is people who act earlier in the open registration window.”

The record low US insurance rate could also be disrupted next year, when the government is expected to declare the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and remove millions of Medicaid recipients from coverage. This could bring more people to the federal market in 2023, Worley added.

“We’re going to be watching a period of significant change,” Worley said. “All this indicates that more and more people are coming to the exchange.”

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