The American Rescue Plan (ARP) was recently passed to reduce health care costs, expand access to coverage, and ensure nearly everyone who buys their own individual or family health insurance through a Marketplace can receive a tax credit to reduce their premiums. The following is a breakdown of what it means to you.
A New Open Enrollment Period Now Through May 15th
*New enrollees can enroll in a plan without providing proof of a special election period
*Current enrollees can make changes to their existing plan
*Coverage will start the first of the month after plan selection
The new law will lower premiums for most people who currently have a Marketplace health plan and expand access to financial assistance for more consumers. This means that if you made too much, you may now actually qualify for assistance.
In order to take advantage of the savings immediately, you must revisit your application via healthcare.gov. If processed this month, premiums will be lowered effective 5.1.
Consumers who enrolled in Marketplace plans prior to April 1 have the choice of waiting until they file their taxes next year in 2022 to receive the additional premium tax credit amount when they file and reconcile their 2021 taxes.
The increased subsidies are retroactive to 1.1.21.
Explanation on How the Premium Tax Credits Work
For consumers who are eligible for premium tax credits, an individual or a family’s tax credit amount is calculated based on the following factors:
Household’s total expected income for the year
Total number of people in the household that file taxes together
The tax credit calculation uses a percentage of the household’s income that they need to contribute (spend) on monthly health insurance premiums.
Prior to the American Rescue Plan, households had to contribute up to 9.83% of their income to pay for health insurance premiums to be eligible for tax credits. Consumers can choose to enroll in plans that cost more or cost less than the benchmark plan. Households with incomes greater than 400% FPL weren’t eligible for tax credits to help reduce the cost of purchasing a Marketplace plan.
Since passing the American Rescue Plan, individuals and families may be eligible for a temporary increase in premium tax credits for this year and next, with no one paying more than 8.5% of their household income towards the cost of the benchmark plan or a less expensive plan. Meaning, many consumers will be eligible for higher tax credit amounts to help cover their health plan premiums.
People who were involuntarily terminated April 1st-September 30th and offered COBRA will have their premiums covered for FREE until September 30, 2021.
People can not take the COBRA subsidy if they are now eligible for other coverage (including new group plan or Medicare)
Taxpayers who received unemployment compensation during any week beginning in 2021 may be eligible to receive additional premium tax credits to help pay for 2021 Marketplace coverage. -This part of the plan is not available at this time, but is estimated to be available by summer.
People who underestimated their income in 2020 won’t have to pay back the APTC when they file their taxes. No word yet what happens to those that have already filed and paid. I suggest contacting your accountant for more information.
Feel free to email or call me with any questions or comments about my services or if you have any insurance related inquires.