For millions of uninsured Americans, the end of 2022 open enrollment has arrived

For millions of Americans without health insurance, time is running out.

Today is the last day for open enrollment on Healthcare.gov, the federal health insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. Anyone who registers before January 15 and pays their first monthly premium on time will be covered from February 1, 2022.

During open enrollment, anyone can purchase coverage for any reason. But after the period ends, only those with a change in circumstances, such as job loss or a major life change such as marriage or divorce, can enroll.

A record 13.6 million people had already purchased health insurance coverage through federal and state markets for coverage as of January 1. Of these, nearly 12 million people were back and 2 million were new to the markets.

According to the Commonwealth Fund’s most recent biennial Health Insurance Survey, in the first half of 2020, 12.5% ​​of non-elderly American adults were uninsured. An additional 43% were underinsured, defined as having unreimbursed health insurance costs of at least 10% of household income (less for low-income people) or having a deductible of at least 5% of household income. housework.

Sometimes people only find out they are underinsured when they need health services and realize they don’t actually have much coverage.

It happened to a freelancer who recently reached out to Nicole Broadhurst, a board-certified patient advocate and lead medical billing advocate at Tennessee Health Advocates.

Recently diagnosed with breast cancer, the woman’s health insurance was limited to covering a maximum of $10,000, according to Broadhurst.

“Suddenly his health insurance benefits became a priority,” Broadhurst said. “We have been working hard to find an ACA compliant policy for him to take out before today’s deadline. Without the Affordable Care Act policies, she would not have been able to find coverage due to the pre-existing cancer diagnosis.

Health insurance sold in the marketplace must include certain consumer protections, such as a ban on denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, and coverage requirements, including mandatory coverage for 10 essential health benefits.

This year’s open registration started on November 1, 2021. Most consumers have more and better options than last year. More than 200 health insurance companies are bringing products to market this year, an increase of nearly 20% from the number of plans available last year. Nearly 90% of Americans can choose from at least three health insurers and on average they will have over 100 specific health plan options.

Consumer costs have also decreased due to additional subsidies built into the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP). Two-thirds of consumers can find market insurance plans for less than $10 per month.

In some states that operate their own markets, residents will have more time. For example, Massachusetts’ open enrollment ends on January 23 while California, New York, and New Jersey, among others, give people until January 31.

But for everyone else, time is running out. Open registration on Healthcare.gov closes tonight.

About Daisy Rawson

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