The Washington Health Benefit Exchange opened a special registration period in February in response to the economic upheaval from the COVID-19 pandemic. Anyone in Washington was able to apply for coverage or compare and upgrade their existing insurance.
Exchange CEO Pam MacEwan attributes the increase in listings to the increase in savings available thanks to the US Federal Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
“These new bonus grants are available to people of all income brackets in a way we’ve never seen before,” MacEwan said in a press release.
More than 28,000 new clients signed up for coverage after May 6, the date of implementation of ARPA grants. This is an increase of 117% compared to the same period in 2020 and 160% compared to 2019.
Some savings have been spectacular, according to the stock exchange press release. More than 34,000 clients now receive health coverage for $ 1 per month or less, and nearly half of all Washington Healthplanfinder clients pay less than $ 100 per month, according to the stock exchange report.
Meanwhile, around 23,000 middle-income families (those with incomes above 400% of the federal poverty line) who were previously not eligible for federal savings have seen their monthly premiums drop by nearly $ 200. per month on average, according to trade data.
ARPA savings will continue to be available during the next annual open enrollment period which begins Nov. 1, according to the exchange’s press release.
This story was originally published August 31, 2021 at 12:12 pm.