A new federal law could make it much cheaper to buy your own insurance if you don’t have coverage through an employer or a government program like Medicare or Medicaid.
The law provides billions of federal dollars to lower premiums for people who purchase coverage through the insurance marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
This help extends a federal tax credit created by the ACA that can be received in advance as a discount on your premium, or as a claim on your taxes for the following year. These subsidies are available to those who purchase individual or family policies in the private market outside of the ACA exchanges. So if you have a health plan outside of these markets, you could save a lot of money by switching to one offered by the ACA markets.
If you’re already enrolled in a Marketplace plan, you could see a lower bill, in many cases much lower, starting as early as your May premium.
Covered California, the state’s ACA health insurance Marketplace, opened a special enrollment period on April 12 for people who want to take advantage of the new help when signing up or changing coverage. The period runs until December. The newly enhanced subsidies go into effect with coverage beginning May 1. To get coverage on the first day of any month, you only need to sign up the day before.
Almost 90% of Covered California recipients already receive financial aid, and many will now receive more. Some members who previously did not qualify for tax credits may now be eligible.
Darci Gutierrez, an insurance agent in Dublin, California, said a client with a large family saved $ 425 a month on a Blue Shield PPO at the Silver level, the second-lowest level of coverage.
“I was surprised by the amount of cost reduction. I was like, ‘Holy cow,’ ”Gutiérrez said.
Extra federal aid is expected to stop after 2022, which means your insurance could cost you more later.
The new law also allocates money to provide virtually premium-free coverage, in 2021 alone, for anyone who receives unemployment benefits at any time during the year.
If you’re already enrolled in Covered California, you can keep your plan and take advantage of the savings, or you can shop around and save even more, or upgrade to a higher level of coverage without increasing your monthly spending.
If you don’t change, Covered California will automatically calculate your lower premium and you’ll see a May credit on your June bill. You’ll also get that savings retroactively for the first four months of 2021 in the form of an additional premium reduction, in equal monthly installments, for the rest of the year.
However, if you are uninsured or have a health plan outside of the ACA insurance markets, you must take action. Research your options and enroll, or change plans.
To find out if you qualify for federal assistance, log on to www.coveredca.com/espanol .
Click the “search and compare” button to find the health plans available to you in your area, along with the monthly premium you will pay after your subsidy is discounted.
You can also click a button to receive a call from a certified health insurance agent who can help you solve everything, free of charge. If you don’t have a computer, call the Covered California line in Spanish at 800-300-0213.
This article was originally posted on Covered California says health insurance has gotten too cheap to ignore