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CMS 'Final Snapshot' Shows 8.3M Enrolled in Individual Market Plans

Analysis  |  By John Commins  
   January 13, 2021

CMS says the numbers are roughly on par with individual marketplace enrollment in 2020.

More than 8.3 million people used the Affordable Care Act's Marketplaces to sign up for health insurance during the recently completed 2021 Open Enrollment Period, the federal government announced this week.

The numbers are roughly on par with individual marketplace enrollment in 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said.

However, 2021 numbers no longer include enrollment from New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which transitioned this year to state-based exchange platforms.

"After removing (Pennsylvania and New Jersey) from the total plan selection totals in the 2020 Open Enrollment Period and comparing year-over-year trends shows plan selections this year increased by 7% from 2020 despite a decline in new consumers," CMS said in a media release.

"Also, for the fourth straight year in a row, the consumer satisfaction rate at the Call Center remained high – averaging over 90% – throughout the entire Open Enrollment Period."

CMS Administrator Seema Verma credited the stable enrollment to her agency's ongoing improvements to the HealthCare.gov platform, which she said allowed more consumers to enroll or re-enroll this year without the need for waiting rooms.

"CMS has layered year upon year of improvements on HealthCare.gov, a sterling record of success that puts the lie to baseless accusations of sabotage," Verma said.

"Our policies have lowered premiums, brought issuers back to the market, stabilized a law that had been in a tailspin for years and improved the customer experience," she said.

Compared to 2020, and removing New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the number of new enrollees fell 3.6%, the number of renewing enrollees with active plan selections increased by 13.2% and the number of renewing consumers who were automatically re-enrolled increased by 4.4%. Total plan selections increased by 7%, CMS said.

Verma said the 2021 enrollment period continued a three-year decline in the average benchmark silver plan premiums, which have fallen by an 8% since 2018.

In addition, the percentage of HealthCare.gov enrollees with access to only one plan dropped from 29% in 2018 to 4% in 2021 and more than three quarters of HealthCare.gov enrollees had access to at least three issuers in 2021.

“CMS has layered year upon year of improvements on HealthCare.gov, a sterling record of success that puts the lie to baseless accusations of sabotage.”

John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

Compared to 2020, and removing New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the number of new enrollees fell 3.6%, the number of renewing enrollees with active plan selections increased by 13.2% and the number of renewing consumers who were automatically re-enrolled increased by 4.4%. Total plan selections increased by 7%.

The 2021 enrollment period continued a three-year decline in the average benchmark silver plan premiums, which have fallen by an 8% since 2018.

The percentage of HealthCare.gov enrollees with access to only one plan dropped from 29% in 2018 to 4% in 2021.

More than three quarters of HealthCare.gov enrollees had access to at least three issuers in 2021.


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