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Special enrollment period boosts Delaware's offseason ACA signups

Delaware mirrors the national trend as it continues to see an increase in signups for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) during the just-ended special enrollment period.

The six-month special enrollment period put into place by an executive order from President Biden ended Sunday. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) data leading up until the end of July counted more than 1.8 million new signups nationally including 5,377 new policies in Delaware. 

That’s far more than in recent years during similar offseason periods. Last year about 2,500 people signed up in the offseason—a higher than usual amount as many who lost coverage after losing their jobs due to lockdowns were able to sign up during a special enrollment period. About 1,900 people in Delaware signed up for coverage during the offseason in 2019.

Senior advisor to Delaware’s Insurance Commissioner Christina Haas says more is expected for this latest period when the August data is added. 

“We often do kind of see a kind of a race to the finish, and we do expect the data for the final 15 days of the [special enrollment period] to have a similarly high rate of enrollment that we saw in July,” said Haas. “And so we’re hopeful that will boost Delaware’s insured numbers even more.”           

ACA premiums in Delaware dropped for the first time in 2019 by about 19% and by about 1% last year. 

And a provision in the American Rescue Plan makes middle-income earners eligible for the government health plans.

“Individuals who may not necessarily have been at the level of economic disadvantage that was previously required on the marketplace,” said Haas. “And they’ve also increased subsidies to make it more affordable for everyone.”           

With the addition of the federal initiatives Haas says about 23% of Delaware signups now have a plan costing $10 or less a month.

The regular annual enrollment period starts this fall.  Delaware signed up over 25,000 people during its last annual sign-up period.

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