It’s a new year with new industry news to follow! Let’s start with some of last week’s happenings.
Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace enrollment has continued to outpace previous years. There were nearly 11.5 million people selecting a health plan nationwide as of December 15, 2022—an 18 percent increase compared to the same period a year earlier. The enrollment growth is a result of greater affordability, more competition among insurance providers, and increased outreach efforts, according to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. A separate statement from the White House highlighted the nation’s uninsured rate hit a record low of 8 percent.
There is continued discussion around the potential end of the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), which is set to expire on January 11. Given that HHS has not announced its promised 60-day notice to stakeholders, there is a growing consensus that the PHE will not end in January as planned and will last until at least April. The PHE has enabled the federal government to pay for waivers and policies for Medicaid coverage, telehealth coverage, COVID-19 testing, vaccines and antiviral treatment. When the emergency expires, those treatment and testing costs will fall back on patients and insurance companies.