Obamacare (commonly referred to as the Affordable Care Act or ACA) makes health insurance accessible and cost-effective for many Americans, significantly decreasing uninsured rates in America while seeing enrollment reach its all-time peak.
The Affordable Care Act offers subsidies to assist lower income individuals afford their plans; these subsidies remain in effect through 2021.
Consumers purchasing health insurance through Obamacare marketplaces may qualify for premium subsidies that reduce monthly plan costs offered in each of the four metal levels (bronze, silver, gold and platinum). To determine eligibility, the government compares an individual’s projected income against their previous year’s tax return and compares.
Recent legislation from both chambers (American Rescue Plan Act), expected to pass this week in both houses (House & Senate), temporarily enhanced these subsidies in order to make Obamacare affordable for middle-class families with premiums too high and boost competition in marketplaces.
People without access to work-based insurance plans may sign up for coverage through marketplaces during open enrollment this November, often being surprised at just how much they save when eligible for subsidies. To determine your eligibility and see if any subsidies may apply to you, use this Obamacare subsidy calculator – it’s free and doesn’t require you to provide personal details!
Individual marketplace buyers who obtain Affordable Care Act coverage through the individual marketplace may qualify for premium subsidies to lower the monthly health insurance plan costs based on household income. These premium subsidies may help people save on premium costs.
As such, it is critical that each year when headlines about Affordable Care Act rate changes surface that you pay attention. Most commonly reported rate changes refer to full-price premiums (before premium subsidies are applied); however, in reality 86 percent of exchange enrollees receive premium subsidies and their after-subsidy premiums can often differ considerably than full-price premiums from year to year.
2021 enrollment year average benchmark premiums decreased slightly, while average premium subsidies largely remained the same (although American Rescue Plan did increase them both years). As such, most ACA exchange enrollees experienced small increases to their after-subsidy premiums this year – however these modest premium increases have been moderated by health care costs exceeding wage and inflation growth over the last two years.
Obamacare offers comprehensive healthcare coverage. However, it is important to remember that you may need to pay higher monthly premiums without eligibility for subsidies; furthermore, enrollment must occur during specific times each year.
Once upon a time, those earning over 400% of FPL were often forced to cover the full costs for their health insurance by themselves; this was known as the “subsidy cliff.” Thanks to the American Rescue Plan’s cancellation of this issue through 2025, Americans making over 400% now receive rebates on premiums paid for health care policies; additionally, under ACA coverage of individuals with preexisting conditions is guaranteed resulting in large gains across racial and ethnic groups including nonelderly Blacks and Hispanics facing high uninsured rates among this group despite these changes; in some instances they face even higher uninsured rates than expected despite these gains;
Many states allow legal immigrants to utilize the Marketplace and obtain cost assistance, though they may not qualify for Medicaid or CHIP coverage. They may be able to find short-term health insurance plans which don’t require proof of citizenship or lawful present status; additionally they could find employers offering health coverage as part of their benefits packages or enroll in student health plans at colleges and universities.
However, immigrants from both legal and undocumented backgrounds still face barriers to health care access. Policymakers should assess how immigration-based policies have an effect on health care access for legal and undocumented immigrant communities and work on finding ways to address any related barriers. Ultimately it is in everyone’s best interest that all people have access to affordable health care – the Affordable Care Act has made strides but needs improvement; undocumented immigrants in particular tend to be uninsured due to certain policies as reported by a recent Kaiser Family Foundation study.