The nation's uninsured rate is at a record low, and it's about to fall further

The nation's uninsured rate hit a record low of 8 percent in the first quarter of this year, and it's likely to decrease further following major ACA investments at the federal level and significant expansions into the individual market from commercial payers.

When open enrollment for 2022 health coverage began last November, 14.5 million Americans enrolled in plans offered on their state's marketplace.

According to the White House, the record-setting figures "did not happen by accident," citing the American Rescue Plan's provisions that expanded eligibility and subsidized costs for ACA plan premiums.

Though the subsidies were set to expire at the end of 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act signed into law Aug. 16 extended them through 2025, which will prevent millions of people from losing coverage and seeing an increase to their premiums. 

In addition, CMS said Aug. 26 it is investing close to $100 million to help minority individuals and those in underserved communities find and enroll in ACA plans, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. 

With marketplaces nationwide now primed for new customers this fall, the nation's largest payers are investing heavily.

UnitedHealthcare told Becker's Sept. 6 the company is increasing its ACA presence to 22 states this year, most recently entering the individual market in Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio. 

The expansion follows a period that began in 2016 where the company nearly abandoned selling ACA health plans after steep losses. In 2016, United sold plans on 33 state exchanges, which fell to two states by 2018.

Cigna said Aug. 29 that pending regulatory approvals, its ACA presence would grow to 363 counties across 16 states this year — a potential 730,000 additional members. 

"By expanding into geographic areas where we have strong provider partnerships, we are able to offer more people access to affordable, quality care that helps create superior health outcomes," Charles Berg, president of U.S. government business at Cigna, said. 

Most recently, Aetna said it would be expanding its co-branded CVS Health insurance plans on the individual ACA marketplaces to a total of 12 states for 2023.

"We're ensuring more Americans can get access to Aetna's quality care," Anand Shukla, senior vice president of individual markets at Aetna, said.

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