Record 14.5 million people sign up for health insurance at government marketplaces

President Biden speaks seated at a table
President Biden, shown on Jan. 13, said in a statement Thursday that his administration is bringing down costs and increasing access to healthcare for American families.
(Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

At least 14.5 million Americans have signed up for private health insurance for 2022 through government marketplaces — a record number that Biden administration officials attributed to government efforts to lower costs and expand access to insurance.

The figure is a 21% increase from the number who enrolled during the last open enrollment period. About 10 million people signed up through, the federal insurance marketplace that is utilized by 33 states, that took applications from Nov. 1 through Jan. 15. Other states, including California, run their own online marketplaces.

The enrollment number — which is expected to grow because some states, such as California, are still accepting applications — was highlighted in a report released by the Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday. Xavier Becerra, the agency’s secretary, cited government action for boosting the enrollment figures. He said a main reason for the surge was tied to the $1.9-trillion pandemic relief law passed in in March 2021 that expanded federal subsidies for those enrolling in Affordable Care Act health plans. That 2021 law, known as the American Rescue Plan, also increased tax credits for monthly premiums and allowed people with higher incomes to qualify for such assistance.


Biden said in a statement that his administration is “bringing down costs and increasing access for families across the country,” adding that his administration will “keep fighting to lower costs and expand health coverage.”

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was passed in 2010, and has been a point of partisan dispute since. The law’s insurance marketplaces began offering coverage in 2014.

President Trump was opposed to the Affordable Care Act. During his administration, he and a Republican Congress repeatedly tried to repeal large parts of it but didn’t succeed, while his administration dialed back efforts to promote enrollment through its marketplaces.

As of this year, fewer than 9% of Americans are uninsured, an improvement over 2020 when the figure was about 10%.