The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell to 332,000 last week from 312,000 the previous week, which was a pandemic low. While losing a job can often mean losing health insurance, the Biden administration says record numbers of Americans are now covered by insurance under the Affordable Care Act; nearly three million Americans signed up during registration open between February and August of this year.
The Biden administration’s special six-month enrollment period gave San Diego lawyer Erin Benler-Ward time to come up with a plan for her 22-month-old son. He was covered by his job, but the premiums were $ 300 per month. So she shopped in the California market looking for plans.
“Fortunately, they were about half the price my employer was offering for dependent health care coverage,” Benler-Ward said. She enrolled her son in June.
The pandemic created unique economic circumstances that spurred enrollments, according to Jeffrey Clemens, professor of economics at UC San Diego.
“A large amount of churn has hit the job market because of the pandemic,” he said. This churn rate is due to layoffs, employee resignations and some people who decide to change careers completely. “In circumstances like this it is of course much more interesting to open up additional registration possibilities,” said Clemens.
Because, he added, that’s one of the reasons for exchanging health insurance – people don’t have to depend on employers for coverage.