The 2022 open enrollment period for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act was one of the strongest years for agents and brokers who assisted consumers in buying coverage through the health insurance marketplace.
That was the word from Ellen Montz, deputy administrator and director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, part of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Montz updated members of the National Association of Health Underwriters on the role they played in getting people enrolled in coverage as part of NAHU’s Capitol Conference on Tuesday.
Nearly 80% of agents and brokers who were registered to enroll consumers in ACA coverage for 2021 returned to the marketplace for the 2022 plan year, with overall participation up by more than 9,000 agents and brokers, she said. A total of 59,199 agents and brokers were registered to enroll consumers through the marketplace in the most recent open enrollment period.
Overall, agents and brokers assisted 62% of those who enrolled through Healthcare.gov or a private direct enrollment partner’s website. This was an increase from 48% in the 2020 plan year and 55% in the 2021 plan year. Agents and brokers also assisted 1.5 million new consumers and 3.5 million returning consumers during the 2022 open enrollment period.
Montz described agents and brokers as partners with CMS in increasing health insurance enrollment in underserved communities. One of CMS’s pillars of advancing health equity by addressing the disparities that underlie our health system.
“CMS works every day to break down barriers to care,” she said. “No one should be let down, left behind or left on the sidelines. “I look forward to working with you to increase access to care and coverage.”
Montz listed the other pillars of CMS’s strategic vision. They are:
Build on the ACA to expand access to health coverage and health care.
Engage partners and communities throughout the policymaking the implementation process.
Drive innovation to tackle our health system challenges and promote high-value, person-centered care.
Protect CMS programs’ sustainability for future generations by serving as a responsible steward of public funds.
Foster a positive and inclusive workforce, and promote excellence in all aspects of CMS’s operations.
Montz noted that ACA enrollment for 2022 spiked by 21% over the previous year, with 14.5 million people signing up for coverage. She listed three factors that led to the increased enrollment.
The American Rescue Plan included expanded tax credits, enabling more people to obtain coverage. Montz called for Congress to pass an extension of the expanded tax credits.
Outreach enrollment efforts were increased over the prior year, and consumers had an additional 30 days to sign up for coverage.
CMS quadrupled the number of navigators available to help people select and enroll in coverage.
Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents' association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan.