Record-high Obamacare enrollment: The numbers behind Biden’s health care victory lap

Enrollment for health plans through the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, insurance marketplaces reached a record high during this year's open enrollment period, a feat applauded by President Joe Biden this week.

“I promised to lower costs for families and ensure that all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care,” Biden said in a statement Wednesday. “Today, we received further proof that our efforts are delivering record-breaking results.”

Between November 15 and January 15, more than 16.3 million Americans signed up for a health care plan through the Obamacare marketplace, according to the latest data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). These included more than 12.7 million returning consumers and more than 3.6 million new signups.

“We’ve made record-breaking progress in expanding coverage and lowering health care costs for American families, saving them money and giving more Americans the peace of mind that comes with affordable health insurance,” Biden said.

According to CMS, Obamacare has seen nearly a 50% increase in enrollment since Biden took office. This includes more than 12.2 million individuals signing up through, the federal platform that is available in 33 states, and more than 4.1 million plan selections through state-based marketplaces offered in 17 states and Washington, D.C.

Florida saw the highest number of enrollees at over 3.2 million, followed by Texas at over 2.4 million. Both states utilize for signups. California, which has its own state-based marketplace, was third at over 1.7 million.

CMS attributed the high number of signups to two key factors: a more competitive marketplace and provisions from the Inflation Reduction Act, which Biden signed into law in August 2022.

The agency said that "92% of enrollees had access to options from three or more insurance companies when they shopped for plans. Also, new standardized plan options were available in 2023 through, which helped consumers compare and select plans.”

Meanwhile, the Inflation Reduction Act expanded health care coverage by extending insurance subsidies for an additional three years. Consequently, according to CMS, up to 80% of returning enrollees found an ACA plan for $10 or less per month through after-tax credits.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), who was among those that lobbied for premium tax credits to be included in both the American Rescue Plan and the Inflation Reduction Act, called the numbers “a big deal.”

“Now, it’s time we made these tax credits permanent,” Shaheen said. “I’ll do everything I can this Congress to get my full bill passed so we can continue working to lower costs and expand access to quality care for all Americans.”

Adriana Belmonte is a reporter and editor covering politics and health care policy for Yahoo Finance. You can follow her on Twitter @adrianambells and reach her at [email protected]

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