HHS: ACA exchange, Medicaid expansion coverage reaches record 31M

ACA
The Department of Health and Human Services applauded a record 31 million in insurance coverage from the Affordable Care Act's insurance exchanges and Medicaid expansion. (Getty Images/designer491)

A record 31 million people have gotten coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) thanks to growth in Medicaid expansion and the insurance marketplaces, a new report finds.

Biden administration officials used the report released Saturday by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to highlight efforts to expand coverage on the ACA’s marketplaces and in Medicaid, including increased marketplace subsidies passed in the American Rescue Plan Act.

“The historic numbers released today speak to the success of the Affordable Care Act and our country’s need for quality, affordable healthcare,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra tweeted Saturday.

The data show that 11.3 million people have enrolled in ACA marketplace plans as of February 2021. Another 14.8 million adults have coverage through the law’s Medicaid expansion as of December 2020.

“In addition, there are one million people enrolled in the ACA’s Basic Health Program, and nearly four million previously eligible adult Medicaid enrollees who gained coverage under expansion due to the ACA’s enhanced outreach, streamlined applications and increased federal funding under the ACA,” HHS added in a release.

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So far, 37 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid, HHS said.

The Biden administration is trying to entice more states to sign up. The American Rescue Plan Act temporarily boosted federal matching rates for holdout states.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is also holding a special enrollment period for ACA coverage through August. The goal is to help people who may have lost coverage due to the pandemic.

CMS has also made several moves intended to boost outreach and raise awareness of the boosted subsidies, which are set to expire after 2022.

Friday, the agency announced it will make $80 million in grant funding available to ACA navigators for the 2022 coverage year. Navigators are non-profit entities that help assist consumers pick an ACA plan or other coverage options such as Medicaid. The groups saw their funding cut to $10 million under the Trump administration, which questioned their ability to sign up enough consumers.