Americans are writing in record numbers about Obamacare

Despite former President Donald J. The latest surge in marketplace enrollment is a testament to Trump's latest warning, a precursor to the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, that he is “seriously looking at alternatives” to the Affordable Care Act. the permanent force of the law.

Legislation passed earlier during the Covid-19 pandemic increased federal subsidies for people who buy plans, lowering costs for many Americans. The Biden administration also extended the enrollment period and increased program advertising and funding for so-called navigators who help people enroll.

“More and more people are realizing that they can go out on the market,” said Cynthia Cox, director of the Affordable Care Act program at KFF's nonprofit health policy research group.

He added, “Just because the ACA has been around for a long time doesn't mean that people who need to sign up for it know how to do it.”

As of Dec. 15 — the deadline to sign up for coverage that begins Jan. 1 — nearly 750,000 people chose a Marketplace plan on HealthCare.gov. This was the largest one-day total.

Dr. Benjamin Sommers, a Harvard health economist who served in the Biden administration, said improved communication helped explain the record enrollment. “I'm pleasantly surprised,” he said.

With increased subsidies over the years, he added, “maybe this is a natural growth rate for a few years in a new policy environment.”

Cody Kinsley, North Carolina's top health official, said his state has gotten creative in its efforts to expand Medicaid to also enroll people in marketplace plans.

“We've had a very broad education and outreach campaign — with civic organizations, churches, navigators — built around the extension to educate people about empowerment,” he said in a text message.

He added, “As part of that, we're supporting people to get coverage in the marketplace if they're not eligible” for Medicaid.

The open enrollment period on Healthcare.gov runs through mid-January and ends at 5 a.m. ET on January 17. People who sign up will have coverage starting in February.

Biden administration officials said they are encouraging enrollees who already have coverage through HealthCare.gov to continue buying plans in case the new option turns out to be better and more affordable.

The Affordable Care Act's marketplaces have become especially valuable for people losing Medicaid coverage this year after a federal policy guaranteed coverage until the pandemic ended in April.

millions of people Dropping the Medicaid rolls It has contributed to growth in market enrollments, Ms. Cox said, and growth outside of open enrollment during regular sleep. (Certain life events(such as the sudden loss of other health coverage, allowing some Americans to get new plans outside of the open enrollment period.)

Enrollment in marketplace plans increased by 1.6 million people between March and September, or 1.5 million more than the same period last year, federal health officials said.