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VIDEO: Young State Legislators, HHS Acting Regional Director, and Virginia Health Benefit Exchange Deputy Director Joined Protect Our Care Virginia to Highlight Record-Breaking Final Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Numbers


From Protect Our Care

VIDEO: Young State Legislators, HHS Acting Regional Director, and Virginia Health Benefit Exchange Deputy Director Joined Protect Our Care Virginia to Highlight Record-Breaking Final Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Numbers

*Watch the event here*

RICHMOND, Va. – U.S. Health and Human Services Acting Regional Director Melissa Herd, Delegate Destiny LeVere Bolling, Delegate Nadarius Clark, and Holly Mortlock of the Virginia Health Benefit Exchange today joined Protect Our Care Virginia to highlight record-breaking open enrollment numbers, including about 400,000 Virginians who have signed up for affordable coverage through Virginia’s new Health Benefit Exchange. Nationally, the Biden administration announced that 21.3 million people enrolled in coverage during the latest open enrollment period – over 9 million more than when President Biden took office. Speakers also discussed a recent report on how the ACA benefits young adults, including a requirement that allows people up to age 26 to stay on their parent’s health plan. The ACA brings coverage to over 4.1 million young Americans.

“In Virginia, we had over 396,000 individuals sign up for health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act. And we know thanks to President Biden and Secretary Becerra that their investment in what is going on in terms of health insurance has really changed the lives of millions of Americans,” said Melissa Herd, Acting Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Region 3. “We are also proud to say that thanks to the IRA, more people qualify for financial help, and in fact, 80% of individuals who signed up for health plans were able to find a plan for $10 or less per month. That’s real savings.”

“The Affordable Care Act has been truly transformative for millennials like myself. Thanks to the ACA more people are enrolled, with nearly one million more young adults since the launch of the program including nearly 30,000 in Virginia,” said Delegate Nadarius Clark. “One of the most impactful parts of the ACA is that young adults can enjoy free preventative services. Before the ACA, many young people only saw a doctor when their condition worsened to the point that it required an emergency room visit. With free preventive care, young adults are able to get the care they need earlier and for much lower costs.”

“Over the last many years, working people have fought tooth and nail to protect and preserve the ACA. Thanks to President Biden and the Inflation Reduction Act, health insurance purchased off our brand new state-based health exchange is more affordable than ever. Thanks to our state’s coordination across multiple agencies, we have more people informed about the savings they can access and finding plans that fit their health care needs,” said Delegate Destiny LeVere Bolling.

“Health insurance coverage is vital to wellbeing no matter what age you are,” said Holly Mortlock, Deputy Director, External Affairs & Policy, Virginia Health Benefit Exchange.  “Our [Virginia] Marketplace offers quality comprehensive health insurance plans that provide coverage for doctors visits, emergency care, behavioral healthcare, preventative care, hospital care, and prescription drugs. We also provide high quality care for children including dental and vision in plans. In addition to the comprehensive coverage offered on the exchange, our plans are more affordable than ever. Nearly 9 out of 10 Virginians that applied on the Marketplace are eligible for financial assistance for our plans.”

“Thanks to the ACA, in particular the requirement for insurance companies to allow parents to keep their kids on their plans until the age of 26, more young people are covered. In 2017, over 3 million young adults had coverage. Now, thanks to President Biden, over 4 million young adults are covered. That matters because young adults should not be one illness, one hospital visit away from bankruptcy at such an early age,” said Jason Melendez, the youngest legislative aide in the Virginia General Assembly. “Being able to stay on our parents’ plans means we can focus on what matters: studying, developing new work skills, and kicking off our careers.”

“Before the Affordable Care Act, I was denied affordable health insurance coverage because I injured my back forcing open a stuck window in college,” said Katie Baker, State Director for Protect Our Care Virginia. “I’m glad that pre-existing medical conditions are no longer a financial barrier for today’s young people who are interested in pursuing self-employment and entrepreneurship.”

You can watch the event here and learn more about ACA open enrollment and how new benefits in the Inflation Reduction Act are lowering costs for Virginians here.


Protect Our Care is dedicated to making high-quality, affordable and equitable health care a right, and not a privilege, for everyone in America. We educate the public, influence policy, support health care champions and hold politicians accountable. We fight to expand access to affordable, high-quality health insurance, lower the cost of health care for individuals and families, and reduce inequities in health care based on gender, income, race, ethnicity, geography, or sexual preference.


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