Due to massive job losses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges could be adding over 1 million new enrollees. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused job losses across the country, with about 10% unemployment rates in almost all states, causing people to lose their health insurance coverage through their employer and can lead to these unemployed consumers to find healthcare insurance through the ACA exchanges.
Throughout the life span of the ACA, enrollment numbers has remained stable for the most part. At the beginning of 2020, enrollment numbers were reported to stand at 11 million individual enrollees. Now, the ACA exchanges are experiencing a mid-year enrollment spike since March, due to the health, economic and employment effects of COVID-19.
A new report from Healthcare.gov reported that about 487,000 enrollees have newly enrolled in coverage through the ACA exchanges during the loss of coverage special enrollment periods (SEP), which is 46% higher than the rate of SEP enrollment in 2019 and is the highest enrollment rate since the ACA exchanges launched in 2014. In the 12 states and DC that operate their own state-based exchanges, almost 263,000 consumers have enrolled for coverage since March 2020.
Although consumers are rapidly signing up for healthcare coverage through the ACA, the most popular plans in the exchanges may have fewer covered benefits, tighter networks, higher cost sharing and more limited drug formularies than employer-sponsored insurance. Also, new deductible requirements and out-of-pocket spending limits as well as new care management requirements, such as prior authorizations, could create gaps in care for most consumers.
The ACA exchanges has seen some major insurers either increase their premiums and plan participation over the years due to economic and government factors, but many major insurers that have actually left the ACA exchanges have announced their participation into the program again.
Read the original article from Fierce Healthcare here.