Between 2020 and 2022, the number of Latino enrollees jumped from 1.7 million to 2.6 million while 1.3 million Black people enrolled last year, up from 900,000 the year before. The number of American Indian enrollees increased from 52,000 to 68,000.
“There’s a very strong chance we’re continuing to get communities that had been left behind to sign up,” Becerra said.
The boost in enrollment is largely driven by generous subsidies -- extended through 2025 in the Democrats' $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief law -- that keep monthly premiums payments at $0 or just a few dollars monthly for most people who sign up.
People can sign up for coverage on HealthCare.gov or through their state's marketplace by Dec. 15 to get coverage that starts on Jan. 1.
Experts will be watching to see if the strong start to the ACA’s open enrollment continues for the next few weeks.
“This demonstrates very solid demand for health insurance,” said Massey Whorley, a principal at health consulting firm Avalere. “Only time will tell if this is truly, outsized significant growth, or if it is people acting earlier in the open enrollment window.”
The record-low insurance rate in the U.S. could also be disrupted next year, when the government is expected to declare an end to the COVID-19 pandemic and boot millions of Medicaid recipients off the coverage. That could drive more people to the federal marketplace in 2023, Whorley added.
“We’re going to be looking at a period of significant flux,” Whorley said. “All of this points to more and more people coming into the exchange.”