More than 2 million new people have enrolled in the Obamacare exchanges this year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, a reflection of demand spurred by the pandemic and new subsidies enacted by Democrats.
About 1.5 million people have enrolled in the federal exchanges, and 500,000 have enrolled in the exchanges run by the states, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra reported in a press briefing Wednesday.
The enrollments have occurred during the special enrollment period from Feb. 15 to Aug. 15 that the Biden administration opened due to the pandemic.
“Families across our country have faced extraordinary circumstances due to COVID-19,” Becerra said. “The pandemic has illustrated that it is more important than ever to have the right health coverage.”
Democrats expanded subsidies by $36 billion for the purchase of insurance on the exchanges, funding included in Biden’s American Rescue Plan in March.
Subsidies were increased for those making between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level and, for the first time, enabled some people making over 400% to qualify for them.
According to Becerra, the expanded subsidies have reduced monthly premiums to $10 or less for about 1.2 million new and returning customers in the federal exchanges.
The expanded subsidies have also reduced the average premium by 25% and the median deductible by 90%, according to Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The expansion is slated to last until the end of 2022, but Democrats are looking to make it permanent.
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Original Author: David Hogberg
Original Location: Expanded subsidies spur 2 million new enrollees on Obamacare exchanges