In mid February, President Joe Biden launched a special enrollment period for Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage, and one million people signed up, according to an announcement by the administration on Tuesday.

“Since it became law more than a decade ago, the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, has been a lifeline for millions of Americans. The pandemic has demonstrated how badly it is needed, and how critical it is that we continue to improve upon it,” Biden said. “Through this opportunity for special enrollment, we have made enormous progress in expanding access to health insurance.”

Last spring during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, former President Donald Trump refused to relax access to the ACA, which is typically only available for enrollment for people who have job-based policies or are experiencing major life events.

However, under the the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, which Biden signed into law in March, consumers will be able to access enhanced premium subsidies, lowering what they pay each month. Additionally, consumers will be eligible for more generous assistance, which lasts for two years, seeing as monthly premiums have been reduced by over 40% – from $100 to $57, according to the administration.

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Enrollees will pay no more than 8.5% of their income toward coverage, under the American Rescue Plan. Lower-income policyholders will not have to pay for premiums at all.

Even those who earn more than 400% of the federal poverty level will be eligible for help for the first time.

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