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“Lower Costs, Better Care For More People”: HHS Secretary Becerra Joined Protect Our Care to Mark Beginning of 2024 Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Period

By November 1, 2023No Comments

Affordable Care Act Coverage Is More Accessible Than Ever Thanks To The Biden Administration

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Washington, D.C. — Today, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra joined Protect Our Care at the Legal Aid Justice Center, an ENROLL Virginia! site, to mark the first day of the 2024 Affordable Care Act open enrollment period. At the event, Secretary Becerra and health care advocates encouraged Americans to sign up for quality, affordable coverage during open enrollment. Last year, a record-breaking 16.3 million people signed up for coverage through the ACA marketplaces, including around 3.6 million new enrollees. 

The Biden-Harris administration has expanded premium tax credits through the Inflation Reduction Act, made historic investments in the Navigator program, and fixed the family glitch – all of which have expanded access to affordable coverage. Now, 80% of people can find coverage through the Marketplace for $10 or less, putting money back in the pockets of hardworking Americans. These changes have also increased the number of people of color with health coverage, which is essential to reducing racial disparities in health and economic outcomes.

“When the President campaigned, that’s what he promised: Lower costs, better care for more people. And he has delivered,” said Secretary Xavier Becerra of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “There are more than 300 million Americans today who have access to a doctor today because they have their own insurance. The reason we broke records is because we reached out to the communities that have been left behind. And, now we can get so many of the people who no longer qualify to keep their insurance coverage through Medicaid. Health insurance coverage is peace of mind.”

President Biden and Democrats in Congress have fought tirelessly to make health care more affordable for the American people,” said Leslie Dach, Founder and Chair of Protect Our Care. “Now, families are saving thousands, giving them peace of mind and more room to pay for other necessities like food, gas, and rent. This year, open enrollment is especially important for families who may have lost Medicaid coverage in recent months due to the end of the pandemic requirements. Now, they along with millions of Americans can get quality health care through the ACA at little to no cost.”

“We all know that access to affordable and effective health care is essential for thriving and surviving,” said Angela Ciolfi, Executive Director of Legal Aid Justice Center. “But that access has always been most challenging for low-income communities of color, nationwide. Now that the pandemic relief has ended, and we’re rolling back some basic benefits, like the expanded Medicaid, it has never been more important to connect people to all available lifelines.” 

“It is an especially momentous day,” said Deepak Madala, Director of the Center for Healthy Communities and ENROLL Virginia!, Virginia Poverty Law Center. “More than 85 percent of Virginians qualify for assistance. There are a lot of options in Virginia because of the Affordable Care Act. I encourage everyone to go to the marketplace, check out their plans, and see if there’s a new more affordable option to fit their budget.”

“Navigation is complex work,” said Ruth Alburez, Navigator with Legal Aid Justice Center.Many immigrants have never had insurance, and they don’t know about the American system when coming to this country. We have to teach the community about health insurance, how to use insurance, the terminology, and how to get the most out of their benefits.” 

“I’m very thankful for the Affordable Care Act,” said Adriana Rossi, patient storyteller from Fairfax County, Virginia. “I am a single mom, and for a long time, I thought ‘I don’t qualify for that,’ but actually yes, I did. I was surprised. As a realtor and life insurance agent, I am always in contact with the community. It’s amazing to be able to help my clients and tell them there are Navigators who speak Spanish and can provide excellent service.”

“At the Inova Clinic, we have more patients coming who have access to health care,” said Dr. Sergio Rimola, OB/GYN in Falls Church, VA. “Now they can have prenatal care. We can lower prenatal mortality rates because they are going to be having regular visits. As President Biden promised during the campaign trail to expand the Affordable Care Act, it is happening. So today, I want to encourage our community to look at the options and sign up for coverage.”