Expansion of ACA Enrollment Period Pays Off Quickly

Source: MSNBC.com

As the coronavirus crisis first started to intensify, the Trump administration considered creating a special open-enrollment period through the Affordable Care Act, but balked, it appeared that Team Trump didn’t want to turn to “Obamacare” to help people in a crisis. But after Inauguration Day, President Joe Biden signed an executive order re-opening the Healthcare.gov marketplace.

The Biden administration’s special enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act has seen almost 940,000 Americans sign up for ObamaCare coverage this year between Feb. 15 and April 30. These are heartening numbers, but they actually understate the scope of the good news.

As the New York Times recently noted, “The new enrollment figures cover the 36 states that use Healthcare.gov to run their health insurance marketplaces. They do not include Americans enrolling in coverage in the 14 states and District of Columbia that manage their own markets, many of which also have extended enrollment periods this year.” What’s more, this good news coincides with the expansive new ACA benefits included in the Democrats’ COVID relief package

Some ACA enrollees will see their premiums cut in half, while millions will see their premiums fall to literally zero, thanks entirely to the investments in the American Rescue Plan.

The Department of Health and Human Services also announced this morning that after the new ACA benefits kicked in on April 1, nearly 2 million consumers — who already had coverage — returned to the marketplace and reduced their monthly premiums. HuffPost’s Jonathan Cohn recently noted, “So this is what it looks like when the people in charge of ‘Obamacare’ want to enroll as many people as possible.”

Donald Trump and his team could’ve taken these steps more than a year ago. The options were on the table to create new open-enrollment periods, alert the public to the coverage opportunities, make premiums even more affordable, and so on. But the Republican administration didn’t want to, so it didn’t.

Team Biden, on the other hand, not only created a new enrollment period, the Democratic administration also launched an “ad blitz” and forged “partnerships with community organizations and advocacy groups” on this — steps his recent predecessor refused to consider.

The current administration wants more Americans to get coverage they can afford, and it’s taken effective steps to make that happen. The results speak for themselves.

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