Illinoisans are signing up for ACA Health Insurance Marketplace plans at nearly twice the rate of this time last year, according to federal CMS numbers released this week. Nearly 15,000 Illinois consumers purchased and enrolled in health plans since February, when President Biden signed an executive order to open the ACA Marketplace for a new Special Enrollment in response to COVID-19. Unlike other SEPs, consumers are not required to provide proof of a qualifying life event, such as getting married, having a baby, or losing job-based coverage to enroll. The SEP in response to COVID-19 runs through August 15, 2021. Since the federal marketplace opened, from February 15 – March 31, 2021, the number of new plan selections in Illinois is 14,496 compared to 7,757 during the same period in 2020 and 7,459 in 2019. According to federal CMS, its data shows that nationally, from February 15 – March 31, 2021, 17% of consumers who identified as Black purchased ACA Marketplace plans, compared to about 11% during the same period in 2020 and 2019. Also, more lower income Americans selected new health plans. Get Covered Illinois (GCI), a division of the Illinois Department of Insurance, is the official health marketplace or “exchange” for Illinois consumers to purchase quality, affordable health insurance, facilitated by the federal government through the ACA Marketplace.