Statement on the Progress of the Health Insurance Marketplace Special Enrollment Period in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
The peace of mind that comes from having affordable, quality health coverage should be a right—not a privilege—for every American. For the past decade, the Affordable Care Act has allowed millions of Americans to sleep more soundly at night, knowing that they will be covered should the worst occur.
When I ran for President, I promised to protect and build on the historic foundation of the Affordable Care Act. That's why, on February 15, my administration opened healthcare.gov for a special enrollment period to allow all Americans—particularly those who had lost their coverage through no fault of their own during the pandemic—to find a quality, affordable health plan.
Six months later, I am pleased to report that 2.8 million more Americans have gained access to reliable health coverage through healthcare.gov and State-based marketplaces. That's 2.8 million families who will have more security, more breathing room, and more money in their pocket if an illness or accident hits home. Altogether, 12.2 million Americans are actively enrolled in coverage under the Affordable Care Act, an alltime high.
In addition to widening access, we are also lowering the cost of health care for millions of families thanks to the expanded premium subsidies included in my American Rescue Plan. Americans who purchase their coverage through the Affordable Care Act have seen their premiums decrease an average of $67 a month, which is more than $800 each year that can go to groceries, childcare, or other essentials. Over 4 in 10 Americans who gained coverage during the special enrollment period found a quality plan for $10 or less per month. Twenty States and the District of Columbia saw premiums decrease by more than $75 a month. And out-of-pocket spending declined dramatically, with the median deductible for new enrollees dropping by more than 90 percent, from $750 to $50.
These numbers are encouraging, but we have more work to do to drive down the cost of health care for all Americans. My Build Back Better agenda would lower prescription drug costs for millions of Americans by letting Medicare negotiate drug prices; provide health care premium tax cuts for 9 million Americans that reduce costs an average of $600; and deliver quality, affordable care to millions more. In fact, by closing the Medicaid coverage gap and extending the expanded Affordable Care Act tax credits, it's estimated we could ensure health coverage for an additional 7 million Americans.
I urge Congress to act quickly to deliver for the American people: to keep up the vital work of expanding access and lowering health care costs across the board and to continue building on the strong foundation of the Affordable Care Act.
Joseph R. Biden, Statement on the Progress of the Health Insurance Marketplace Special Enrollment Period in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/352544