Happy 12th Birthday to the #ACA!
Today is the 12th Anniversary of President Obama signing the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act, aka the ACA (also aka "Obamacare"). This is the first in a series of posts based on press releases & reports released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today (CMS).
First up, the formal press release marking the anniversary of the law:
On 12-Year Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, New HHS Report Shows Ways the Biden-Harris Administration’s American Rescue Plan Investments Are Lowering Health Care Costs and Expanding Coverage
Today, on the 12th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a new report highlighting data on the record-setting 2022 Open Enrollment Period and key health care coverage gains made under the Biden-Harris Administration. The “State of the ACA” report, published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), shows that the Affordable Care Act is at the strongest it has ever been thanks to President Biden’s robust investments through the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Nationwide, 2.8 million more consumers are receiving tax credits in 2022 compared to 2021. These tax credits are helping families keep more money in their pockets for essentials as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“President Biden promised to build on the success of the Affordable Care Act, and just one year into his Administration, we have already broken records with all-time high enrollment numbers and all-time low prices,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “We will continue working to deliver on that promise until we make health care a right for all.”
During the first full year of the Biden-Harris Administration, nearly 6 million new consumers signed up for coverage through the Marketplaces nationwide during the 2021 Special Enrollment Period (SEP) and this year's Open Enrollment Period (OEP). This includes 2.8 million people who newly enrolled during the SEP and more than 3 million who newly enrolled during the OEP. Thanks to the ARP, Marketplace plans were more affordable than ever, contributing to a record-breaking 14.5 million consumers nationwide signing up for health care coverage – a 21 percent increase from last year.
Note: It's actually 15.5 million nationally...everyone seems to forget the 1.0 million Americans in Minnesota and New York who are enrolled in the ACA-funded Basic Health Plan programs.
“On the 12th Anniversary of the ACA, it is clear that the Affordable Care Act and the American Rescue Plan are working to expand access to health care coverage and have been critical to advancing health equity,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “The Biden-Harris Administration’s ARP subsidies were successful and ensured that more Marketplace consumers than ever had access to quality, affordable health care and the peace of mind that comes with having health care coverage that best fits their needs.”
A report released by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) showed that more Americans have gained coverage during 2021, as the ARP and other Administration policies took effect. In addition, without the ARP, the average monthly premium after Advanced Premium Tax Credit (APTC) for HealthCare.gov enrollees would have been $59 per month higher, or 53 percent higher. According to a new ASPE report released today, an estimated 3.4 million Americans currently insured in the individual market would lose coverage and become uninsured if the ARP’s premium tax credit provisions are not extended beyond 2022.
Finally, the uninsured rate fell after implementation of the ARP, the 2021 SEP, and expanded outreach efforts. The uninsured rate for the U.S. was 8.9% for the third quarter of 2021 (July – September 2021), down from 10.3% for the last quarter of 2020.
The Biden-Harris Administration has made it a priority to continue to strengthen the ACA. President Biden is committed to building on the progress made by the ACA by reducing premiums for the millions of Americans enrolled in Marketplace coverage and closing the Medicaid coverage gap, which would lead to four million uninsured people gaining coverage. Over 18.7 million adults are now covered across 39 states (including the District of Columbia) due to Medicaid expansion, though 12 states have not expanded.
The Biden-Harris Administration also recently announced a new SEP opportunity for low-income consumers with household incomes under 150% of the Federal Poverty Level who are eligible for premium tax credits under the ACA and ARP, which is approximately $19,000 for an individual and $40,000 for a family of four in 2022. In states that use the HealthCare.gov platform, 45% of consumers who signed up for health coverage during the 2021 SEP had household incomes under 150% of the Federal Poverty Level. This new SEP will make it easier for low-income people to enroll in Marketplace coverage throughout the year and benefit from the ARP savings.
HHS is hosting a week-long celebration of the 12-year anniversary of the ACA, from March 21 through March 25, highlighting the impact of the law and the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to building on its success. The theme of this week-long celebration is: “ACA: 12 Years of Advancing Health Equity for All Americans.” During the week, each day, HHS will spotlight ways in which the ACA has made gains in addressing health disparities of women and families, kids, older adults, people with disabilities, LGBTQI+ and communities of color.