CMS proposes new rules to increase accessibility in 2024.
Almost 5.5 million people have signed up for health insurance through marketplaces established through the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Meanwhile, the Biden-Harris administration aims to make behavioral health care more accessible through new policies in 2024, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
The developments were announced this month as the open enrollment period continues for 33 ACA Marketplaces and 18 state-based marketplaces (SBMs) in 17 states and the District of Columbia.
In about the first month of enrollment, there were about 4.3 million people who have active coverage in 2022 and were re-enrolling for 2023, while another 1.2 million people. The 5.5 million people were up 18% from about 4.6 million for the same time in 2021, seeking coverage for 2022. The figures cover time from the Nov. 1 open enrollment start date to Dec. 3.
“Providing quality, affordable health care options remains a top priority,” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a news release. “We are incredibly pleased to see continued strong enrollment numbers in this second snapshot report, especially the increase in new enrollees. We are going to keep our focus on ensuring that all who seek health care coverage get the affordable, quality coverage they need.”
The open enrollment period continues through Jan. 15, but federal officials were pushing for people to enroll by Dec. 15 to ensure coverage starting Jan. 1.
Meanwhile, the administration has proposed a rule that would advance health equity by addressing disparities within the health care system, according to CMS.
Substance use disorder treatment centers and mental health facilities would be added as two major essential community provider (ECP) categories. Federally qualified health centers and family planning providers would be be included in a proposal to extend the current overall 35% provider participation threshold, according to CMS.
“These changes, in conjunction with a proposal to expand Network Adequacy requirements, would increase provider choice, advance health equity, and expand access to care for consumers who have low income, complex or chronic health care conditions, or who reside in underserved areas, as these consumers are often disproportionately affected by unanticipated costs associated with provider network status and limited access to providers,” the CMS announcement said.