WASHINGTON – A record 14.5 million Americans have signed up for Obamacare health insurance since November, President Joe Biden announced Thursday.
That’s the highest number purchasing insurance during an open enrollment period for the marketplaces created by the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
The previous record of 12.68 million was set in 2016, the final year of President Barack Obama’s administration, according to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, a health policy research organization.
Enrollment for the most recent period began in November and ended Jan. 15 in most states. Residents of California, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C. still have until the end of January to sign up.
Enrollments were boosted by the pandemic relief package passed last year which temporarily expanded subsidies for the plans.
Subsidies became more generous for those who already qualified for assistance, lowering both premiums and deductibles. They were made newly available to people earning more than four times the federal poverty rate – about $51,000 for a single person.
Biden said families saved an average of $2,400 on premiums. Four out of five enrollees picked plans costing less than $10 a month, according to the administration.
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In addition to the enhanced subsidies, enrollment for 2022 plans was also helped by the Biden administration’s promotion of the program. That was a turnaround from the Trump administration, which sought both to undo the Affordable Care Act and make it more difficult to enroll. Biden reversed cuts the Trump administration made to an enrollment assistance program and lengthened enrollment periods.
Larry Levitt, executive vice president for health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, has said reinvigorating the Affordable Care Act has to be counted among Biden’s most visible policy successes.
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