As Americans prepare for Thanksgiving, we have another annual tradition: open enrollment in the health insurance market. Millions of Americans can be grateful to have access to health insurance through Healthcare.gov.
Open registration began on November 1, 2021. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), more than 1.6 million people in 33 states have registered or extended their coverage in the marketplace. Of these, around 287,000 were newcomers, while the majority (more than 1.3 million) renewed their insurance cover from last year.
Although political debates over the Affordable Care Act have subsided after the US Supreme Court rejected a third challenge to the law earlier this year, consumer interest in reporting remains high. A total of almost 2.5 million applications were submitted, 1.2 million of them in the past week alone.
Consumers who purchase health insurance on Healthcare.gov this year are likely to find more options available to them.
For 2022, 213 health insurance companies will take part in the marketplace, 32 more than in the previous year. On average, participants have between six and seven plan issuers to choose from, compared with an average of four or five last year. The vast majority (89%) of the participants can choose from three or more issuers. Only 2% of those enrolled have only one option, compared to 4% in the previous year.
This increased involvement of insurance companies also leads to more individualized plan options. This year, participants have an average of more than 100 plans to choose from among four metallic tiers – bronze, silver, gold and platinum. These levels correspond to the value of the cover and usually also to the cost of this cover. For 2022, enrollments will have an average of 41 Bronze plans and 46 Silver plans, usually the cheapest options available.
In addition to the wider choice, this year consumers may have cheaper options.
Net premiums fell thanks to improved subsidies under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP).