HealthStacy M. Brown

Extended Obamacare Enrollment Nets 1M New Sign-Ups

Proclaiming that health care is a right and not a privilege, President Joe Biden said his administration is committed to ensuring that every American has access to the quality, affordable health care they need.

The president noted that since his American Rescue Plan authorized the reopening of the Affordable Care Act in February, more than 1 million Americans have gained coverage. The former administration, which tried to demolish the health care law, had closed enrollment last fall.

In one of his first acts as president, Biden declared his intention of offering more coverage.

“Since it became law more than a decade ago, the Affordable Care Act has been a lifeline for millions of Americans. The pandemic has demonstrated how badly it is needed and how critical it is that we continue to improve upon it,” Biden stated.

On Feb. 15, the Biden administration opened HealthCare.gov to provide all an opportunity to sign up for health insurance through a special enrollment period.

Less than three months later, the president announced that one million had signed up.

“That’s one million more Americans who now have the peace of mind that comes from having health insurance. One million more Americans who don’t have to lie awake at night worrying about what happens if they or one of their family members gets sick,” Biden remarked. “Through this opportunity for special enrollment, we have made enormous progress in expanding access to health insurance.”

The administration also has focused efforts on ensuring that African Americans enroll.

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra earlier announced commitments from national organizations to support Black American outreach and enrollment efforts during the special enrollment period.

Governmental estimates show that Black Americans represent roughly 13% of the U.S. population but 16% of the uninsured.

Last month, HHS and its partner organizations combined social media efforts to inform African American consumers and spur enrollment in “affordable, quality health plans through HealthCare.gov.”

An estimated 66% of Black uninsured adults now may have access to a zero-premium plan and 76% may be able to find a low-premium plan as a result of expanded coverage, Becerra noted in a news release.

“Black Americans are clearly taking advantage of the current Special Enrollment Period to access quality health care coverage,” Becerra stated. “But we still have a lot of work to do. We are building on this encouraging momentum and earnestly teaming with key national partners serving Black communities.

“We are leveraging their expertise and networks to promote enrollment in quality, affordable health insurance coverage during this special enrollment period,” he said. “Health care is more affordable now, and access easier than ever, for people in need of a health plan that best fits an individual’s or family’s health care needs.”

Biden reiterated that there remains plenty of time for anyone to sign up at www.HealthCare.gov.

The enrollment period has an Aug. 15 deadline.

“Getting more Americans covered is an important part of the equation — but we also need to lower health costs,” Biden continued. “My American Rescue Plan lowered premiums for nine million Americans who buy their coverage through the Affordable Care Act, saving families an average of $50 per person per month.

“Americans are also seeing lower out-of-pocket costs,” he said. “Since April 1, the median deductible for Americans signing up for new coverage on HealthCare.gov has dropped by nearly 90% to just $50.”

Biden concluded that his American Families Plan would build on the work to make health care more affordable, including making the American Rescue Plan’s premium reductions permanent.

“This milestone demonstrates that there is a need and a demand for high quality, affordable health insurance across this country,” the president determined. “It is up to Congress to hear them and act quickly to pass the American Families Plan.”

Click here for more information or to sign up for the Affordable Care Act.

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Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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