Michiganders set new record for Obamacare enrollment

By Michigan Advance

January 29, 2024

BY JON KING, MICHIGAN ADVANCE

MICHIGAN—Once again, a record number of Michiganders have enrolled into the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for the coming year.

According to the latest data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), more than 418,000 Michigan residents purchased a plan during the most recent enrollment period, topping last year’s record of nearly 322,300 Michigan residents who purchased a plan under the ACA, more popularly known as Obamacare.

This year’s enrollees were among 21.3 million consumers nationwide who signed up for the ACA for 2024, nearly 5 million more than in 2023.

US Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra hailed the record numbers as placing the ACA among the same rank of federal programs as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

“Once again, a record-breaking number of Americans have signed up for affordable health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace, and now they and their families have the peace of mind that comes with coverage,” said Becerra. “The ACA continues to be a successful, popular, and important federal program to millions of people and their families. As we celebrate the success of this most recent enrollment effort, HHS will double down on the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to increase access to quality care and lower costs.”

Of the 21.3 million ACA consumers for 2024, 16.4 million signed up for Marketplace plan selections in the 32 states, like Michigan, that use the HealthCare.gov platform, while another 4.9 million plan selections were made in the 18 states and the District of Columbia with state-based marketplaces.

According to HHS, the investments included in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), signed into law by President Joe Biden in 2022, meant that four in five HealthCare.gov customers were able to find health care coverage for $10 or less per month for the 2024 plan year after subsidies.

“Numbers do not lie: Not only is demand for Marketplace insurance coverage at an all-time high, but the Marketplaces are delivering on the Affordable Care Act’s promise to provide the peace of mind that comes with having health insurance to millions of Americans,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure.

However, a report from the nonprofit health policy organization KFF concludes that the post-pandemic “unwinding” of Medicaid coverage was also likely a contributing factor in the record numbers.

“KFF’s analysis shows that individual market enrollment was already elevated by at least 1 million people before open enrollment began,” stated the analysis. “Some people losing Medicaid coverage made their way onto the ACA Marketplace mid-year 2023, while others may have waited for open enrollment to make the transition.”

Medicaid is the country’s public health insurance program that provides health coverage for more than 85 million low-income adults, pregnant people and children nationwide. In Michigan, 3.1 million people—a little less than one-third of the state—are covered by public insurance.

Medicaid enrollees, including in Michigan, had not been required to reapply for coverage for three years after annual renewals were paused during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, that changed when Congress in late 2022 passed legislation that ended continuous enrollment on March 31, 2023.

While some states began disenrolling people starting last April, Michigan did not resume disenrollments until June 2023, with annual renewals being staggered to take place monthly through May 2024.

KFF says Medicaid enrollment in Michigan declined by 264,432 from June to December 2023, an 11.4% drop.

“In some cases, people have been disenrolled because they were determined ineligible for the program, but others have been disenrolled for procedural reasons, meaning they were unable to complete the renewal process, and may still be eligible,” stated the report. “Some of those losing Medicaid coverage have been able to reenroll in Medicaid, while others have moved to employer-based coverage or to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); however, others have become uninsured.”

For those who are not eligible for Medicaid, CHIP or affordable employer coverage, KFF says the ACA Marketplace offers subsidies to make private coverage more affordable.

READ MORE: Republican Senate candidates vow to take away health insurance from 1.3 million Michiganders

This coverage was republished from Michigan Advance pursuant to a Creative Commons license. 

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