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Biden’s Special Obamacare Sign-Up A Pandemic Boost To Health Insurers - Forbes

President Biden Delivers Remarks Celebrating 31st Anniversary Of Americans With Disabilities Act

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during an event marking the 31st anniversary of the Americans with ... [+] Disabilities Act (ADA) in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, July 26, 2021. The Biden administration is keeping foreign travel restrictions in place amid concern about rising Covid-19 case levels as the delta variant spreads. Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg

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Health insurance companies continue to have one of their best years selling individual plans under the Affordable Care Act thanks to a special open enrollment period put in place by the Biden administration.

The idea behind the special enrollment period is to help those Americans who have lost their jobs along with their health insurance coverage during the Covid-19 pandemic. The special enrollment period, which began February 15, runs for another two weeks to Aug. 15.

A snapshot of the latest enrollment increase for health insurers could be seen last week when Centene reported the addition of tens of thousands of new members to its individual coverage, also known as Obamacare.

“In marketplace, we added a net 110,000 lives since the beginning of the year,” Centene chairman and chief executive Michael Neidorff told analysts on a call to discuss second quarter earnings. “While typically, we would have lost members during this period. This represents 6% growth.”

The Biden administration said last month that “more than 2 million people” have signed up for coverage via the healthcare.gov website, also known as the federal healthcare exchange or marketplace as insurers like to call it.

“The June Marketplace (Special Enrollment Period) report shows that since February 15, 1.5 million Americans have signed up on HealthCare.gov with an additional 600,000 enrolling in coverage through the 15 State-based Marketplaces,” the Centers for Medicaid Medicare Services said. “The report also shows that of the new and returning consumers who have selected a plan since April 1, 1.2 million consumers (34%) have selected a plan that costs $10 or less per month after the American Rescue Plan’s (ARP) premium reductions.” 

Centene’s jump to more than two million Obamacare enrollees as of the end of the second quarter compared to 1.9 million at the end of March bodes well for other health insurers soon to report their second quarter earnings. Cigna, for example, reports second quarter earnings Friday while Oscar Health will report earnings on Aug. 12.

And already, Anthem, which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in 14 states said last month its individual commercial business, which includes Obamacare plans, grew nearly 4% to 738,000 compared to the year-ago quarter.

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