CMS releases ACA special enrollment numbers

More than 200,000 Americans took advantage of the special enrollment period in February.

More than 200,000 Americans took advantage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace special enrollment period during the second half of February.

According to a news release from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), there were 206,236 new plan selections from Feb. 15 to 28 while 385,864 new consumers requested coverage on an application submitted on or after Feb. 15. Of these, 330,473 were marketplace eligible and 54,434 were eligible for Medicaid and or CHIP.

In previous years, these special enrollment periods were only opened for qualifying life events, but President Joe R. Biden called on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reopen the marketplace at HealthCare.gov for a special enrollment period from Feb. 15 to May 15. The move came as millions fear losing their health employer-sponsored health insurance due to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

In the first two weeks of the special enrollment period there were more than 3.1 million users on HealthCare.gov, 497,579 calls to the call center, and 160,772 users window shopping the site. The states that took the most advantage of the first two weeks were Florida with 61,737 new plan selections, up from 22,872 during the same period last year, and Texas with 34,682, up from 11,674, according to the CMS release.

The special enrollment period has also drawn members of the Spanish speaking community to the marketplace with 134,817 users accessing CuidadoDeSalud.gov, 9,308 users window shopping the site, and the call center receiving 69,882 calls seeking a Spanish-speaking representative, the release says.