(CNN)Almost a million people signed up for 2021 health insurance coverage on the federal Affordable Care Act exchange during the first 10 weeks of President Joe Biden’s special enrollment period, according to data released Thursday from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
That’s well over double the number who turned to the exchange in the same period over the past two years, when enrollment was limited to those losing job-based policies and experiencing other major life events, such as divorce.
Another 257,000 people seeking coverage during the special enrollment period were found to be eligible for Medicaid.
Former President Donald Trump spent his years in office undermining the Democrats’ landmark health care law and refused to relax access last spring in the face of the Covid pandemic. After taking office in January, Biden launched a special enrollment period that began on February 15 so the uninsured could obtain coverage.
Sign-ups are open through August 15.
To raise awareness among the uninsured, the administration is spending $100 million in marketing, including broadcast and digital advertising and email and text messages. It is funneling $2.3 million to 30 organizations that assist consumers in enrolling. And it is partnering with national groups to increase outreach, including to the Black and Latino communities, which have higher uninsured rates.
The 14 states, and the District of Columbia, that run their own exchanges have also reopened enrollment, though the duration varies.
Accessing federal help to buy coverage
About 1.9 million Obamacare enrollees returned to the federal exchange last month to take advantage of the heftier premium subsidies contained in the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. The assistance, which became available on April 1, has reduced monthly premi
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