This year’s Open Enrollment Period is outpacing all previous years, a historic high of more than 13.6 million people already enrolled in health insurance coverage for 2022 through HealthCare.gov and State-based Marketplaces (SBMs), according to the latest figures from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
From the start of Open Enrollment through December 15, 2021, more than 9.7 million consumers enrolled in Marketplace coverage in the 33 states using HealthCare.gov for 2022. This is over 900,000 more people than the previous all-time high of 8.8 million who signed up during the 2018 Open Enrollment Period with 39 states using HealthCare.gov.
CMS cited the American Rescue Plan (ARP) for making coverage more affordable and accessible for people across the country: 92% of people in HealthCare.gov states who signed up for plans through December 15, 2021, will receive premium tax credits for 2022 coverage. “Moreover, more than 400,000 people will receive tax credits for 2022 coverage, to date, that would have been inaccessible to them prior to the ARP.”
The 18 SBMs that use their own platforms reported to The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that through December 11 (week six), almost 3.9 million consumers selected plans or were automatically re-enrolled in a plan for 2022 health coverage. This is up from last year when SBMs reported that 3.4 million consumers made a plan selection in the 15 State-based Marketplaces for 2021, through week six.
This Open Enrollment Period builds on the momentum of the 2021 Special Enrollment Period (SEP). In 2021, between the Special Enrollment Period earlier this year and Open Enrollment, more than 4.6 million people across the country newly gained access to affordable health care coverage. That includes 3.7 million through HealthCare.gov and the more than 950,000 people who newly gained access to affordable health care coverage through the State-based Marketplaces during the Special Enrollment Period.
Consumers still have time to enroll. The Biden-Harris Administration extended this year’s HealthCare.gov Open Enrollment Period until January 15, 2022, for coverage starting on February 1, 2022, giving consumers an extra month to enroll in affordable and comprehensive coverage.
This year’s Open Enrollment offers the most choice in the Affordable Care Act’s history, with 213 issuers offering coverage through HealthCare.gov, an increase of 32 issuers compared to the 2021 plan year. The average consumer now has between six and seven issuers to choose from, up from four to five issuers in 2021.
There are over 1,500 certified Navigators helping consumers enroll in communities across the country. For example, Navigators in Kansas attended a fall festival and movie night hosted by the local Boys & Girls Club and handed out educational information about Open Enrollment, answered questions from consumers, and scheduled appointments for enrollment assistance. In addition, over 2,600 community organizations, called Champions for Coverage, are getting the word out to encourage people to sign up for coverage. CMS has concentrated outreach on those most in health coverage and who have historically lacked access. In addition, CMS says the consumer satisfaction rate at the HealthCare.gov Call Center is at an all-time high, 93%, during this year’s Open Enrollment.
SBMs enrollment deadlines for coverage starting January 1, 2022, range from December 15 through December 31, 2021, and most have Open Enrollment periods until mid- to late- January.