The number of Tennesseans enrolling in health insurance plans via the federal open marketplace jumped 29 percent from 2021 to 2022, a year in which American Rescue Plan subsidies bolstered participation in the marketplace.  

That increase means 273,000 Tennesseans are now enrolled in coverage through the marketplace, the White House noted Thursday

Tennessee’s increase was greater than the national average — a 21-percent increase. Tennessee is one of a dozen states that have not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a move that could reduce the number of people seeking insurance through the marketplace. (In neighboring Kentucky, for example, where state leaders decided to expand Medicaid, fewer than 80,000 people are enrolled in health insurance through the federal marketplace.)

More than 14.5 million Americans enrolled in a plan through the marketplace during the latest open enrollment period. The marketplace was designed as a central location to connect people who don’t have employer-sponsored health insurance to coverage options. 

Open enrollment ran Nov.1-Jan. 15. Special enrollment can be requested when there is a major life event such as having a child, losing health coverage or qualifying for Medicaid.

This week marks one year since the American Rescue Plan was signed into law by the Biden-Harris administration. It was signed on the anniversary of COVID-19 being declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. One of the things it sought to do was expand health care coverage and reduce costs. 

Under the ARP, premium subsidies were increased for all income levels and opened up to some previously excluded from financial assistance. Premium subsidies are tax credits meant to offset health care premiums to help people purchase their own health insurance. 

Data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed 5.8 million new customers enrolled during the 2021 special enrollment and open enrollment periods, while between 2016 and 2019 3.6 million Americans lost their coverage.