Florida and Texas have been poor models of pandemic response. But their residents sure like the Affordable Care Act: those Republican-led states have produced the largest number of new enrollees in President Joe Biden’s special Obamacare enrollment period:
Floridians and Texans flocked to the federal exchange, with more than 146,000 and 98,000 residents signing up, respectively. The states, which have among the highest uninsured rates in the nation, have had the most people selecting policies during this special enrollment period so far [Tami Luhby, “More than 500,000 People Have Signed up for ObamaCare Coverage During Biden’s Special Enrollment Period,” CNN, 2021.04.07].
Funny: those states voted for the other guy to be President, the guy who promised to destroy the Affordable Care Act but never did. And now those states’ residents are flocking to that “lousy” health coverage. So are hundreds of thousands of other Americans, in numbers far greater than during the last couple years:
More than 528,000 Americans have signed up for Affordable Care Act coverage on the federal exchange in the first six weeks of the special enrollment period President Joe Biden opened for the uninsured.
That’s more than double the number that turned to the exchange, healthcare.gov, in the same period over the past two years, when enrollment was limited to those losing job-based policies and experiencing other major life events, such as divorce, according to data released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services. Some 209,000 and 171,000 consumers signed up for health insurance in the same period in 2020 and 2019, respectively.
Former President Donald Trump refused to reopen Obamacare enrollment last spring as the coronavirus pandemic swept the nation [Luhby, 2021.04.07].
Those 528K+ new enrollees are just from the 36 states that use the federal insurance exchange, Healthcare.gov. It does not include states like New York, California, and Minnesota that run their own insurance exchanges. Among those 36 states, the rate of Obamacare uptake relative to estimated state population was 0.25%; the ACA uptake/population rates in Florida and Texas were 0.67% and 0.33%, respectively. So Florida and Texas didn’t just lead the nation in signing up for Obama-Bidencare because they have more people; on a percentage basis, Floridians and Texans like the ACA more than other states… perhaps because their Republican leaders have driven them to higher rates of uninsurance.
South Dakotans are a bit behind the national curve: the 1,809 South Dakotans who signed up new for Obamacare over the last six weeks represent only 0.20% of our population. But we still match the national trend of nearly tripling the signups we saw in 2019 and 2020. And we signed up more South Dakotans for Obamacare than did our neighboring sparse states of Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota. South Dakota also out-enrolled Delaware, Hawaii, Alaska, and West Virginia, thus ranking 29th in new ACA enrollees among the 36 states using the federal exchange.
MNSure, Minnesota’s state-run health insurance exchange, reported 2,285 new enrollees during the beginning of its special enrollment period from February 16 through March 10.
After Florida and Texas, the remaining top ten states for ACA enrollment were Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Illinois, Missouri, and Michigan. Six of those top ten Obamacare-enrolling states voted for the other guy in 2020.
Enrollment in the Affordable Care Act will likely increase this month thanks to new tax credits in the American Rescue Plan, President Biden’s coronavirus relief and stimulus package. President Biden is keeping the federal healthcare exchange open for enrollment through August 15.