Record-breaking 16.3M People Choose ACA Marketplace Health Plans

Affordable Care Act, ACA, exchanges, Obamacare,

A historic 16.3 million people signed up for Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace coverage during the 2023 open enrollment period, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Wednesday.

This year’s ACA Marketplace enrollment represents a 13% increase, or 1.8 million people, from last year, according to CMS. The open enrollment period began November 1 and ended January 15 for most marketplaces. This is the 10th year of ACA Open Enrollment.

“On the tenth anniversary of the ACA Marketplaces, the numbers speak for themselves: more people signed up for plans this year than ever before, and the uninsured rate is at an all-time low,” said Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, CMS Administrator, in a news release.

The 16.3 million enrollees includes more than 12.7 million (78% of total) returning consumers and more than 3.6 million (22% of total) new consumers. There was a 21% increase in new consumers, CMS said.

The states with the highest enrollment numbers were Florida with more than 3.2 million plan selections, Texas with more than 2.4 million plan selections and California with more than 1.7 million plan selections.

This year, 92% of enrollees could choose from three or more insurance companies when looking for plans. There were also new standardized plan options, which made it easier for consumers to compare plans. And due to the Inflation Reduction Act — which passed in August — four out of five enrollees could find a plan for $10 or less after tax credits, according to CMS.

The Biden-Harris Administration also made a historic $98.9 million investment to 59 navigator organizations in August for the 2023 open enrollment period. The year before, the Administration invested $80 million. Navigator organizations educate consumers on health insurance coverage and assist them in finding the best health plan for their needs. In contrast, the Trump administration gave $10 million to 39 navigator organizations for the 2019 period.

“Unprecedented investments lead to unprecedented results … The Biden-Harris Administration has made lowering health care costs and expanding access to health insurance a top priority – and these record-breaking numbers show we are delivering results for the American people,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “We will keep doing everything we can to ensure more people have the peace of mind that comes with high-quality, affordable health care.”

Matt Eyles, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), applauded healthcare players for these enrollment numbers.

“Every American deserves affordable, comprehensive coverage — regardless of their income, health status, or preexisting conditions,” Eyles said in a statement. “Health insurance coverage is critical to protecting Americans’ health and financial well-being. The historic enrollment numbers today reflect the successful partnership of HHS, health insurance providers, stakeholders, and community partners to educate and enroll more Americans in Exchange coverage than ever before.”

Photo: chokkicx, Getty Images