13.8 million people sign up for ACA plans ahead of enrollment deadline


More than 13.8 million consumers have signed up for 2022 healthcare coverage through the Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplaces, on HealthCare.gov and state-based marketplaces. Coverage began on January 1.

This year’s open enrollment period, which started on November 1, 2021 and ends on January 15, continues to outpace previous years’ enrollment, including a 21% increase in plan selections through December 15, 2021, compared to the last year’s open enrollment in the 33 states using the HealthCare.gov platform.

In all, 4.6 million new enrollees gained coverage in 2021 through the ACA health insurance marketplaces.


The latest national snapshot shows that the more than 13.8 million sign-ups include over 9.7 million people enrolled in, or being automatically re-enrolled, through December 15, 2021, in marketplace coverage in the 33 states using HealthCare.gov. 

The 18 state-based marketplaces that use their own platforms reported to CMS that through December 25, 2021, more than 4 million people selected plans or were automatically re-enrolled in a plan for 2022 health coverage, which is an increase of 240,000 consumers since the last published report.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services credits the Biden Administration’s outreach efforts, including additional funding and the quadrupling of the number of Navigators who are available to assist consumers. 

As the January deadline approaches, there are 59 Navigator grantee organizations, with more than 1,500 certified Navigators ready to help consumers enroll. Navigators have held outreach and education events, focusing on meeting consumers in their communities at places such as local libraries, vaccination clinics, food drives, county fairs and job fairs.


Upon extending the open enrollment deadline in September, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also expanded services provided by federally-facilitated marketplace navigators – experts who help consumers, especially those in underserved communities, understand their benefits and rights, review options, and enroll in marketplace coverage.

The agency also announced it’s relaunching its “Champions for Coverage” program. The program currently includes more than 1,000 local organizations that are active in providing outreach and education about the health insurance marketplace and how consumers can enroll in coverage through HealthCare.gov, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

According to CMS data, about 8.3 million people selected individual market plans through the marketplaces using the federal platform during the 2021 open enrollment period. 

This total enrollment is nearly the same as enrollments during the 2020 open enrollment period, despite the fact that New Jersey and Pennsylvania transitioned to state-based exchange platforms starting with the 2021 open enrollment period.

After removing these states from the total plan selection totals in the 2020 open enrollment period and comparing year-over-year trends, the results show plan selections this year increased by 7% from 2020, despite a decline in new consumers. Also, for the fourth straight year, the consumer satisfaction rate at the call center remained high – averaging over 90% – throughout the entire stretch.

Twitter: @JELagasse
Email the writer: [email protected]


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