Health

CMS launches all-out effort to boost ACA signups before special enrollment period ends

The Biden administration is launching a new ad campaign and other marketing outreach as part of an “all-hands effort” to boost Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchange signups for the final month of the special enrollment period.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the paid media outreach on Thursday that includes releasing testimonial advertisements on the benefits of getting ACA exchange coverage. The special enrollment period for ACA signups ends Aug. 15.

“With costs at an all-time low, this is an excellent opportunity for Americans to select a quality healthcare plan that works best for them,” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a statement.

The special enrollment period also enables consumers to take advantage of enhanced income-based subsidies Congress funded as part of the American Rescue Plan Act for the 2021 and 2022 coverage years.

RELATED: CMS proposes significantly expanding ACA open enrollment period

CMS announced Wednesday that more than 2 million people are enrolled for coverage on HealthCare.gov, which residents in 38 states use to sign up for coverage.

“Since the implementation of the American Rescue Plan on April 1, 1.2 million new and returning consumers have newly found coverage for $10 or less per month after advance payments of premium tax credits,” CMS said in a release Thursday.

As part of the new marketing push, CMS is developing advertisements featuring individuals that found savings on HealthCare.gov. The advertisements will be run on prime-time television and digital platforms as well as “increased outreach directed to underserved and minority populations,” CMS said.

“CMS will also run the bilingual campaign to promote the [special enrollment period] during the Olympics and other high-profile sporting events,” the agency said.

CMS did not disclose how much the campaign will cost. It is the latest bid by the agency to boost marketing and outreach funding for ACA signups.

The agency announced in April that it will give an extra $80 million to ACA navigators for the 2022 coverage year. The navigators are nonprofit entities that help consumers pick an ACA plan or find coverage in other government programs such as Medicaid.

CMS’ outreach push is a departure from the Trump administration that cut funding for ACA outreach and to navigators, arguing the extra funds weren’t needed because awareness of the law’s insurance exchanges was high.

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