President Joe Biden is seen during a meeting at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 27 (UPI) -- A record number of more than 14 million people in the United States have signed up for medical coverage in 2022 through the Affordable Care Act, the White House said on Thursday.
The open enrollment period to sign up for coverage this year began on Nov. 1 and ended Jan. 15. Thirty-three states offer coverage through federal ACA exchanges and 17 states and Washington, D.C., run their own insurance marketplaces under the ACA.
President Joe Biden said that the enrollment figure for 2022 is at least 14.5 million -- about 2 million signups higher than the previous record.
"This did not happen by accident," Biden said in a statement Thursday. "The American Rescue Plan did more to lower costs and expand access to health care than any action since the passage of the Affordable Care Act. It made quality coverage more affordable than ever -- with families saving an average of $2,400 on their annual premiums, and four out of five consumers finding quality coverage for under $10 a month.
"As a result, millions of our fellow Americans have now gained the security and peace of mind that dependable health insurance brings."
File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI
The ACA was passed by Congress more than a decade ago when Barack Obama was president. A number of reforms and legal challenges related to the law have occurred since, and former President Donald Trump tried to completely shut down the program -- which has provided insurance to tens of millions of Americans who otherwise would have no option for coverage.
Biden promised during his campaign for president to expand and improve, rather than replace, the ACA.
"As long as any American lies awake at night, wondering how they're going to pay their medical bills, my administration will keep fighting to lower costs and expand health coverage even more," Biden added.
"Health care should be a right, not a privilege, for all Americans."
The record enrollment figure is part of a larger report from the Health and Human Services Department that will be released on Thursday. Officials said the 14.5 million enrollees is not a final figure, which means the total should be even higher, The Washington Post reported.
For people who live in California, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. -- which operate their own exchanges -- they have until Jan. 31 to sign up for coverage for 2022.
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer (L) announces his retirement with President Joe Biden in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on Thursday. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo