CMS: 1.2M signed up for ACA coverage since Feb. 15 as enhanced tax credits boost enrollment

A new report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services outlines the impact that enhanced tax credits passed under the American Rescue Plan Act have had on enrollment on HealthCare.gov. (Getty/kroach)

There have been 1.2 million new consumers signing up for coverage on HealthCare.gov from Feb. 15 through May 31, with 4 in 10 spending $10 or less per month due to enhanced tax credits, new data show.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a report Monday that explores how many people have taken advantage of enhanced tax credits passed under the American Rescue Plan Act, which went into effect in April. The special enrollment period lasts through Aug. 15.

“The financial assistance available is helping to ensure that quality healthcare is within reach for Americans who need it and want it during this pandemic and beyond,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure during a press call Monday.

The report showed that 2.3 million current enrollees on the exchanges returned to the marketplace during the special enrollment period and reduced their premiums by more than 40%, or $61 a month on average.

It also found that 1.03 million consumers were able to get an Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan with premiums of $10 or less a month. Of that 1.03 million, 687,275 were returning consumers and 347,349 were new customers.

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The American Rescue Plan Act temporarily boosted income-based tax credits that lower the cost of health insurance, but the subsidies expire after the 2022 plan year.

Brooks-LaSure added that the special enrollment period is helping Americans find coverage from other programs as well, with 331,000 Americans that went to HealthCare.gov learning they are eligible for Medicaid.

Consumers on HealthCare.gov, which is used by residents in 38 states to sign up for ACA coverage, also saw declines in out-of-pocket costs as the enhanced tax credits enabled consumers to get coverage with more affordable deductibles.

“The median deductible for consumers new to the marketplace since Feb. 15 fell by 83% from $450 prior to April to $75 for consumers new to the marketplace selecting a plan from April 1 through May 31,” the agency said in a release.

It also found that the average monthly premium after the enhanced tax credits fell by 26% from $117 for those enrolling between Feb. 15 to March 31 to $87 for those enrolling from April 1 through May 31.

“This is all part of the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to ensure everyone who needs access to coverage has access to affordable, quality coverage,” Brooks-LaSure said on the call.

The new report also includes comprehensive data on gender and ethnicity for consumers signing up.