Uninsured rate drops to historic low of 8%
The number of Americans getting health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace has reached a new high, the government announced recently.
According to a statement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), 11.5 million people had enrolled in health plans offered on the federal Marketplace between November 1 and December 15, 2022, an 18%, increase compared to the same period a year earlier. The uninsured rate in the U.S. now stands at 8%, its lowest ever, according to a statement from the White House.
The enrollment growth is a result of greater affordability, more competition among insurance providers and increased outreach efforts, says HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, four out of five customers will be able to find a plan for $10 or less. As we head into the new year, there is no greater gift than the peace of mind that comes with having high-quality, affordable health care,” Becerra said in a written statement.
“This year, we’re so pleased to see so many new enrollees on Healthcare.gov, taking advantage of expanded financial assistance and new eligibility to purchase affordable, comprehensive health care coverage that they can use to help keep them and their families healthy,” added Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure.
The statement notes that consumers have benefitted from a “highly competitive” Marketplace in which 92% of enrollees can select from at least three plans, with 80% of enrollees able to find a plan with monthly premiums of $10 or less after tax credits. The government has also made plan comparison easier by standardizing many plans according to their benefits and cost.
In addition, many of the cost-savings measures included in the Inflation Reduction Act became effective on January 1. Among these are a $35 cap on a month’s insulin supply for seniors and $0 out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries for recommended vaccines covered by Part D plans.
“I promised to lower costs for families and ensure that all Americans have access to quality affordable health care. In recent days, we received further proof that our efforts are delivering record results and bringing families the peace of mind that comes with health insurance,” President Biden said in a statement.
According to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, the uninsured rate among the non-elderly decreased from 17.8% in 2010—the year the ACA was enacted—to 10.2% in 2021. For 2021 the drop was driven mainly by an increase in Medicaid coverage as well as a smaller increase in non-group coverage, which includes coverage obtained through the federal and state marketplaces.
Open enrollment on the HealthCare.gov marketplace continues through January 15 for coverage beginning February 1.