MARSHFIELD — Health Insurance Marketplace customers are urged to update their applications on HealthCare.gov to take advantage of increased premium subsidies.
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARP), which was signed into law on March 11 by President Joe Biden, provides enhanced premium subsidies to individuals and families who purchase their health care coverage through the Federally-facilitated Exchange (Marketplace). This new legislation is expected to lower 2021 plan premiums for most people who have a Marketplace plan, and expand access to financial assistance for even more consumers.
Security Health Plan Chief Growth Officer Marty Anderson said he hopes all Marketplace enrollees – even those not enrolled in a plan from Security Health Plan – will update their application to take advantage of these cost savings.
“This legislation expands access to health care for individuals and families throughout Wisconsin,” Anderson said. “Our mission is to enrich lives, by helping people from Wisconsin attain affordable health care coverage we are accomplishing that.”
The ARP caps premiums at 8.5 percent of consumers’ annual household income toward the cost of the second-lowest-cost Silver plan available on the Marketplace in that consumer’s area. Marketplace plans are categorized in four “metal” tiers: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. The different categories are based on how the consumer and their health plan split the costs of health care.
“It is important to note here that, regardless of income no one will have to pay more than 8.5 percent of their household income for the second-lowest-cost Silver plan. And some people won’t have to pay any premium,” Anderson reiterated. “Previous to the passing of this law, the Affordable Care Act only provided premium tax credits to individuals if their household’s modified adjusted gross income did not exceed 400 percent of the federal poverty level. By capping plan premiums at 8.5 percent of income, the American Rescue Plan Act provides targeted premium assistance to more people.”
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates that, on average, the savings as a result of the ARP will be $50 per person, per month. CMS projects 80 percent of Marketplace enrollees will be able to enroll in a Marketplace plan for $10 or less per month, after premium tax credits. In addition, CMS projects more than half of enrollees will be able to find a Silver-tier plan for $10 or less, per month.
Anderson said the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) projects 51,000 Wisconsinites who are currently uninsured are eligible for these new tax credits.
“It is estimated that over 31,000 of our family, friends and neighbors here in Wisconsin, that are presently uninsured, will be eligible for a $0 Silver-tier plan from the Marketplace,” he added. “That’s tens of thousands of lives we can enrich with affordable health care coverage with no monthly premium. And while this isn’t permanent, it will extend through 2022.”
There is currently a Special Enrollment Period open on the Health Insurance Marketplace, allowing people to sign up for 2021 coverage if they haven’t already.
Anderson noted that even if consumers don’t update their application at HealthCare.gov, they should still realize the increased subsidies when they file their 2021 income taxes next year.
“Each year Marketplace customers have to reconcile their tax credits when they file their income taxes – and this year will be no different,” Anderson explained. “So if consumers don’t update their application, they should still receive the enhanced subsidies when they reconcile next year.”
To shop for a Marketplace plan from Security, go to www.securityhealth.org/ifpplans. If you need help enrolling on a Marketplace plan, call Security at 1-844-679-9733. If you are hearing- or speech-impaired call TTY 711.