For the second year in a row, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced record enrollments in Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual marketplace plans, with 21.3 million consumers signing up for 2024, a whopping 30% increase from last year’s previous record of over 16.3 million. These numbers include 5 million new enrollees but do not include totals from the four states and the District of Columbia that keep enrollment open until January 31.
As in 2023, this year’s record number was likely aided by several factors. First, lower premiums and higher tax credits made coverage more affordable for millions, and second, fixing the “family glitch” brought affordable coverage options to many families. The Biden-Harris administration also continued increased funding for navigators who help consumers find and enroll in plans.
Importantly, there may also be ripple effects from Medicaid unwinding. During the COVID-19 pandemic, states could maintain continuous eligibility for millions, leading to a record-low uninsured rate of 9.6% in 2022. Now that those rules have expired, an unprecedented number of people have lost Medicaid as states are once again terminating people from coverage, often because of administrative barriers rather than a failure to qualify.
We applaud the steps the Biden-Harris administration has taken to improve ACA coverage and inform potential enrollees about their options. Affordable, high quality insurance coverage improves people’s health, well-being, and financial security. We urge Congress to also recognize these important benefits, and to extend them to people with Medicare. Most immediately, this means funding MIPPA’s low-income beneficiary outreach and enrollment activities in the next budget package. This assistance can be a lifeline, allowing beneficiaries with limited resources to maintain their coverage, get needed care, and afford other basic necessities. But only if they can access it.
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