This includes an estimated 13.6 million people enrolled in policies purchased in Obamacare exchanges and more than 21 million people in Medicaid expansion coverage, including 16.8 million people who were not eligible before the landmark Health Reform Act.
Meanwhile, the rate of the uninsured fell to 8.8% in the fourth quarter of last year, down from 10.3% in the same period in 2020, according to new Federal National Health Interview Survey data. This represents about 4.9 million people with coverage.
“With a record total of more than 35 million people who now have health coverage, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, America’s uninsured rate is close to an all-time low,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.
Also, the boosting federal subsidies to Obamacare, which drew more Americans to stock exchanges, are set to expire at the end of this year unless Congress takes action.
Even before President Joe Biden took office in 2021, more Americans were signing up for Affordable Care Act coverage as the Covid-19 pandemic has placed an increased focus on access to health care.
Additionally, Medicaid enrollment has ballooned over the past two years in large part because states have not been allowed to forcibly remove anyone from coverage during the pandemic in exchange for a more generous federal Medicaid match, under the coronavirus relief package passed by Congress in 2020.
Gains at risk
The historic increase in the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid coverage may be short-lived.
Also, as many as 14.4 million people could lose Medicaid coverage if the public health emergency ends after the second quarter of this year, according to the Urban Institute.
The public health emergency will last until mid-July. The Biden administration said it will give states 60 days notice before the emergency ends so they can ramp up their preparations to review residents’ eligibility for Medicaid.