Recent news about individual-market health insurance has been largely centered around the American Rescue Plan and how it’s made coverage in 2021 much more affordable than it used to be. Now, as we approach ACA’s annual open enrollment period, it’s a good time to look ahead to what we can expect to happen with 2022 coverage.

Fortunately, the ARP’s enhanced subsidies will still be in effect in 2022 – and possibly longer, if Congress can agree on an extension. That means subsidies will continue to be larger than they used to be, and more widely available, including to households earning more than 400% of the poverty level.

For 2022 individual/family coverage, we’re seeing some wide variation in proposed and finalized rate changes across the country. Average rates will decrease in some areas and increase in others, with modest single-digit rate changes in most places.

But we’re also seeing widespread continuation of the increasing insurer participation trend that’s been ongoing since 2019. In 2017 and 2018, insurers fled the ACA’s exchanges – or even the entire individual/family market. But that started to turn around in 2019, and insurer participation increased again in 2020 and 2021.