Arkansans are encouraged to review their options for health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace as the close of open enrollment on Jan. 15 draws closer. Enhanced premium tax credits are still available, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, meaning some individuals can get no-cost or low-cost premiums.
Marketplace enrollment is expected to reach record highs as November enrollment was 40% higher than the same period in 2021. More than 14.5 million Americans selected a marketplace plan during the 2022 enrollment period. Enrollment during the current open enrollment period is expected to be even higher.
Arkansas had its highest marketplace enrollment last year, with nearly 90,000 Arkansans purchasing coverage during open enrollment. The majority of Arkansans who enroll through the marketplace receive financial assistance to purchase coverage, but only about one-third of those eligible for financial assistance enrolled in 2020. At the time of this writing, the Arkansas Insurance Department reports that 80,464 Arkansans have currently enrolled in health coverage through the marketplace.
A federal rule that went into effect Dec. 12 will help approximately 5 million families seek lower-cost health insurance coverage for their dependents. The rule fixes the “family glitch,” which barred many families from seeking lower-cost coverage through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. Previously, families of individuals with employer-sponsored health coverage were prohibited from seeking marketplace coverage if the employer’s individual plan (instead of the family coverage premiums) was considered affordable (meaning the employee’s premium contribution is less than 9.5% of their household income).
Those seeking coverage also have more assistance with enrollment this year. In August, Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a historic $98.9 million investment to assist “navigator” organizations in adding and retaining staff for the 2023 open enrollment period. Navigator organizations provide outreach and assistance to consumers navigating enrollment in the marketplace. The state collaborates with the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care to operate a helpline, (800) 355-3262, for Arkansans needing assistance with enrollment.