396,000 Arkansans enroll in health insurance marketplace, Medicaid expansion coverage | Arkansas Democrat Gazette

WASHINGTON — More than 396,000 Arkansans have health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplace or Medicaid expansion, as federal officials report that national enrollment numbers are rising.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Friday that 45 million Americans have health insurance through marketplace plans or state Medicaid expansion efforts, a 12 percent increase from the agency’s March report of 2023 on the coverage of the health care law.

According to the agency’s latest data, 396,254 Arkansas residents have coverage related to the Affordable Care Act. A record number of Arkansans selected plans through the federal exchange platform HealthCare.gov during the most recent open enrollment period, but federal data show a decline in Medicaid expansion coverage as the ‘natural state returned to regular renewals with the end of the federal public health of the coronavirus. emergency

Officials released new enrollment data on the eve of the 14th anniversary of then-President Barack Obama’s signing of the Affordable Care Act. The statute, commonly known as “Obamacare,” gives Americans tax credits to purchase insurance coverage and allows states to expand Medicaid eligibility.

The Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, described the enrollment record as a “milestone.” Becerra supported the Affordable Care Act while serving in the US House of Representatives.

“Fourteen years ago, the landscape in America changed forever,” he told reporters. “Thanks to the vision and heart of leaders like President Obama and President Biden, we’ve seen a transformation that has brought health insurance within reach of people who might not have even dreamed it was possible.”

Becerra left Capitol Hill in January 2017 to become California’s attorney general. During his tenure, Becerra led Democratic state attorneys general in opposing a federal legal challenge that threatened the health law’s legal standing. The US Supreme Court finally struck down “Obamacare” in a June 2021 ruling.

According to federal data, 21.4 million Americans selected a health insurance plan through open enrollment between November 1, 2023, and January 16, 2024, including about 5 million new people in the marketplace. the medical insurance. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services noted that 16.4 million Americans selected marketplace plans in 2023, and 8 million people had coverage during the first enrollment period in 2014.

In Arkansas, 156,607 people selected plans during the most recent open enrollment period, a jump from 100,407 in Arkansas during the 2023 term. Officials estimate 143,000 Arkansans enrolled in marketplace plans last month.

Arkansas has relied on the HealthCare.gov platform since the first open enrollment.

“This is a record number of people,” Becerra said of the most recent numbers. “It’s a record on top of last year’s record.”

Becerra highlighted the impact of the Biden administration’s policies in helping consumers manage costs. The American Rescue Plan and the Inflation Reduction Act funded premium tax credits, which officials say allowed four out of five HealthCare.gov customers to purchase coverage for $10 or less a month through these subsidies .

“You can’t go see a movie for $10 a day,” the clerk said. “Like I say, forget the popcorn and a soda, too.”

CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said the data is evidence that the health care law “continues to live up to its name.”

“Everywhere I go, I meet people whose lives have changed for the better because of the Affordable Care Act,” she added.

Republicans in Congress opposed the Biden administration’s efforts to curb health care costs through these recent statutes. In a report covering its fiscal year 2025 budget proposal, the House Republican Study Committee said the subsidies hide the “true cost of health care.”

The caucus proposes ending the subsidies in addition to rolling back other “Obamacare” policies to give states flexibility in the models they offer.

Enrollment through the Medicaid expansion declined slightly nationwide from September 2022 to September 2023. Officials reported that 18.6 million Americans newly enrolled in Medicaid in September 2023 compared with 18.8 million people in September 2022.

The federal government provided states with a temporary increase in their Medicaid matching rate amid the coronavirus pandemic as long as state agencies did not cancel participants. Upon the end of this policy on March 31, 2023, states administered a “roll-out” of their Medicaid registries given the change in federal support.

Most states had a year to complete this process, but the Arkansas campaign took six months due to state law.

According to data from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, 244,108 Arkansans were newly enrolled in Medicaid through the health care expansion provision last September, compared to 326,906 in September 2022. Officials noted that 9,146 ineligible Arkansas adults gained coverage through the ofcaid expansion. last september

While Biden administration officials tout the successes of the health care law, former President Donald Trump has expressed interest in renewing the fight against “Obamacare.” Congressional Republicans tried unsuccessfully to repeal and replace the law during Trump’s time in office, and the former president never presented an alternative during his four years in the White House.

Biden’s presidential campaign posted an ad Friday with Trump’s comments slamming “Obamacare” with a call to action for voters to “protect your health.”

As Biden and Trump prepare for a rematch in the general election, Becerra acknowledged the political challenges to “Obamacare” and concerns about whether such efforts would threaten that program.

“They will take health care and peace of mind away from millions of Americans,” he said. “We’re not going to let that happen.”

#Arkansans #enroll #health #insurance #marketplace #Medicaid #expansion #coverage #Arkansas #Democrat #Gazette
Image Source : www.arkansasonline.com

Leave a Comment