Terry’s Columns More Affordable Healthcare

More Affordable Healthcare

By Terry Savage on November 07, 2021

Here is the LINK to find your subsidy at Healthcare.gov — without going through the application process.

The American Rescue Plan passed last February created a huge revision to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) that has made the best health insurance more affordable to more Americans – regardless of income.

Even applicants with higher incomes will now be eligible for meaningful subsides for 2022. And people with low incomes who were previously required to pay as much as 4% of their income in premiums, now will pay nothing for coverage.

That makes it worthwhile for uncovered individuals and families of any age and any income to check in at the Healthcare.gov website to find the best plans in their state and too see what kind of subsidy they can receive. Even people who currently purchase individual insurance, may find that the new expanded subsidies make it worthwhile to buy that same plan on the Healthcare.gov marketplace, since the subsidy could reduce their premiums.

The signup period for these ACA plans – gold, silver, and bronze –starts November 1st and runs through January 15, 2022.

Reduced Monthly Premiums and Better Access to Care
The new ACA definition of “affordable care” says no one should pay more than 8.5% of their income in health insurance premiums. The specific amount of the subsidy you receive on an ACA plan is determined by your age, (and the age of your spouse or dependents) as well as your location and income. It’s also based on the cost of a “benchmark” silver plan in your state.

In the past many people avoided the “exchange” plans listed at Healthcare.gov because they felt their access to favorite physicians or hospitals would be limited. Now, well known insurers such as Blue Cross and Humana are offering their “top of the line” individual plans in many states through the Healthcare.gov exchange website.

Many of these plans offer an extensive HMO or PPO network, typically in the gold plan tier. Or you can choose a silver or bronze plan with less expensive monthly premiums and more restrictions, such as higher deductibles and copays. No matter which plan, the premium is reduced by the amount of the individual’s subsidy.

Finding Your Premium Tax Credit (subsidy)
Finding your monthly subsidy amount is easy, without even revealing your identity. At Healthcare.gov click on “Get Ready to Apply.” You’ll be asked only three simple questions: your age, zipcode, and estimated income for 2022. Then you can easily add a spouse (including age and income) or a dependent child.

The site instantly calculates the amount of your monthly subsidy. Then you can filter plans being offered in your area to find the least expensive in the gold, silver or bronze category — or the ones that include your favorite physicians. You can instantly compare monthly costs – after your premium subsidy is applied.

But be sure you’re not just looking at low monthly premiums. Check potential total deductibles and the limit on out-of-pocket costs with each plan before deciding. Then you can click and apply instantly.

If you’re wondering about those subsidies, here are a few examples. But it’s worth checking in at Healthcare.gov to find your own specific credit.

• Take the case of a couple living in Illinois — Male age 60 and Female age 55 – with combined income of $100,000. Before these new ACA changes, they would have been ineligible for a premium subsidy. But now, their subsidy will be $490 a month – -no matter which plan they chose.
• Or, let’s take the case of a woman in Illinois, age 55, expected to earn $55,000 in 2022. Under the old rules, she would not have qualified for a subsidy. But under the new more affordable rules, she will receive a Premium Tax Credit (subsidy) of $151 a month.
Obviously, your ultimate monthly premium cost depends on the plan you choose. But searching at Healthcare.gov is essential, because in many big cities, there are more than 100 plans to chose from.

Whether you currently have coverage, or have gone uncovered because of cost, the game has now changed. Start your search for coverage at the Healthcare.gov website immediately. The new low cost may surprise you. And you never know when you’ll have an expensive health emergency. That’s The Savage Truth.



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