The special enrollment period for healthcare insurance signup has proven popular after more than 528,000 people signed up for coverage on the Affordable Care Act marketplace during the first six weeks.
Healthcare enrollment is typically offered annually from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15 but was reopened by President Biden in January due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The special enrollment period was also recently extended to August 15 from the previous deadline of May 15.
"Every American deserves access to quality, affordable healthcare—especially as we fight back against the COVID-19 pandemic," HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. "Through this special enrollment period, the Biden Administration is giving the American people the chance they need to find an affordable healthcare plan that works for them. The American Rescue Plan will bring costs down for millions of Americans, and I encourage consumers to visit HealthCare.gov and sign up for a plan before August 15."
The surge of Americans enrolling in healthcare coverage during the first six weeks of the special period is more than double the number of enrollees over the same period over the past two years, CNN reported. The numbers reveal that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has led many Americans to look for healthcare coverage options.
President Biden’s COVID-19 relief bill, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, also slashed premiums for many through new subsidies. The cheaper premiums have also helped certain demographics attain coverage, including Black Americans and Americans near the poverty level.
“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 healthcare coverage that meets their needs,” Becerra said.