HealthNational

500,000 Enroll in Health Insurance During Special Period

Gains Registered Among African American, Traditionally Unsigned Groups

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says more than 500,000 Americans have enrolled in health insurance through HealthCare.gov as a result of the Biden Administration’s Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The department added that this has been the largest increase in enrollment among Black consumers and among Americans near the poverty level in two years.

“Access to quality, affordable health care is essential – especially as we tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.

“Since the beginning of this Special Enrollment Period’s availability on HealthCare.gov, more than 500,000 Americans have already signed up for coverage on HealthCare.gov. Now, thanks to the American Rescue Plan, health care coverage is more affordable and millions of Americans are seeing their premiums reduced.”

“At HHS, we are going to build on the Affordable Care Act [ACA] and work tirelessly to ensure Americans have the chance to sign up for quality, affordable health care coverage that meets their needs.”

A report issued on Wednesday, April 7 from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which covers plan selections from Feb. 15 to March 31, shows gains in enrollment among historically uninsured communities.

Of applicants who identified a race, 17 percent identified as Black – compared to about 11 percent in both 2020 and 2019 during the same period.

Among consumers requesting financial assistance, 41 percent report being at or slightly above the federal poverty level, compared to 38 percent in 2020 and 33 percent in 2019.

The HHS says nearly 15 million Americans who currently lack health insurance, and many current enrollees, are eligible to receive additional financial support in obtaining Marketplace coverage as part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP).

As of April, premiums are expected to decrease by an average of $50-per-person, per month – and $85-per-policy, per month due to the financial assistance available under the ARP.

An average of four out of five consumers currently enrolled in Marketplace coverage can now find a plan for $10 or less per month after financial assistance says the HHS.

The 2021 SEP is available to consumers in the 36 states with Marketplaces that use the HealthCare.gov platform through Aug. 15, 2021.

Sarafina Wright –Washington Informer Staff Writer

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s millennial publication. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, she attended Howard University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. A proud southern girl, her lineage can be traced to the Gullah people inhabiting the low-country of South Carolina. The history of the Gullah people and the Geechee Dialect can be found on the top floor of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In her spare time she enjoys watching either college football or the Food Channel and experimenting with make-up. When she’s not writing professionally she can be found blogging at www.sarafinasaid.com. E-mail: Swright@washingtoninformer.com Social Media Handles: Twitter: @dreamersexpress, Instagram: @Sarafinasaid, Snapchat: @Sarafinasaid

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