Biden administration officials attributed the more than 1 million new Obamacare sign-ups to the advance tax credits established by the massive coronavirus relief package passed in March that drove down many people's plan premiums to around $10 per month.
"This far into a special enrollment period to see the numbers as high as they are is really showing that as people are learning about the increased affordability, we are seeing enrollments," said Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure on Monday. "It's really important that we continue to stress what a difference the American Rescue Plan has made in terms of affordability."
CMS reported on Monday that more than 1.2 million people have signed up for health coverage under Obamacare since the special enrollment period began Feb. 15. Biden officials credited advance payments of premium tax credits established under the American Rescue Plan for recruiting new enrollees during the special sign-up period for Obamacare plans, which ends on Aug. 15. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra also said Monday that the tax credits have given 43% of new enrollees and about 30% of returning consumers access to plans with premiums of less than $10.
The spending package also made people with incomes above 400% of the federal poverty line eligible for coverage under Obamacare for the first time. The expanded subsidies, which lower plan premiums, are set to expire in 2022.
Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, faces a murky future as the Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision on whether to throw out the healthcare law on the grounds that consumers are no longer obligated to pay for a plan on the exchange after the repeal of the individual mandate in 2017.
Becerra, who previously served as California's attorney general, is a staunch defender of Obamacare, having defended the law in federal court during his time as state attorney general in 2018.
Legal experts maintain that the law is unlikely to be thrown out, however, because the conservative Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh have signaled their belief that striking down one part of the law, the individual mandate, does not necessitate throwing out the entire law.