March 23rd marked the 11th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act taking effect, and for all the good the law has done over the last decade, we are excited by new developments that will provide more help connecting Californians with coverage and care. Thanks to President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, getting health care through the ACA is now more affordable than ever before for millions of Californians.
On top of the immediate direct financial stimulus provided to many Americans, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) is the biggest boost to health coverage affordability since the ACA, ensuring that no American has to pay more than 8.5% of their income on health care coverage when buying as an individual. This is an urgent and welcome relief for millions who have lost their jobs or income, as well as their health insurance, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Californians should be proud to know that our state showed proof of concept for this latest federal move, which builds off of the state’s successful health care subsides implemented in 2020. But the new federal bill takes the affordability assistance we won it to the next level, effectively eliminating all “affordability cliffs” in the ACA marketplace.
So who benefits? What does this mean for you and your family?
- If you are currently uninsured: It’s time to get covered! If cost has held you back before, health care coverage has never been more affordable. Take this opportunity to protect yourself and provide financial peace of mind by taking a look at your options at www.coveredca.com.
- If you are a single person living on $1,400 a month or less, you may have had to spend $48/month on premiums. You would now pay nothing.
- A family of three living on $31,000 a year would still have been expected to spend almost $1,300 a year on premiums, but now would owe nothing.
- If you have coverage through Covered California: Your health care is about to get less expensive! Almost every one of the nearly 1.5 million Californians who are covered through CoveredCA will see a reduction in their premiums starting in May. This change is retroactive to the beginning of the year and you will see reductions from January – April as a tax credit for 2021. You may now be able to afford a different or even better plan than before. See your options at www.coveredca.com.
- If you are a single person earning $50,000 per year, you will save hundreds under the new federal law.
- A couple making $82,000 a year may have paid as much as $13,100 per year on health coverage, but under the new law, they would save thousands, paying no more than $7,000 a year.
- If you purchase coverage directly through an insurance provider: Consider re-enrolling through Covered California. The subsides provided there could be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars. You can even keep the same plan, and track your progress to meeting your deductible.
- If you make more than $51,000 per year, you may have paid an average of $1,100 per month on coverage. Under the ARP, your monthly premium would drop to an average of $507 per month – saving you thousands throughout the year.
- If you use COBRA: If you have opted to enroll in COBRA coverage from your previous employer, the ARP will cover your premiums through September 30.
And you now have more time to enroll. In an unprecedented move, Covered California extended its sign-up period through the end of the year so there is currently no deadline to enroll in coverage this year. But the sooner you sign-up, the sooner you are covered and can start getting primary and preventative care for yourself and your family.
As historic as these investments are, they currently have an expiration date in two years. We must now work to secure this support so Californians can better access and afford coverage and care, to help us get out the pandemic now, and closer to a universal, affordable health care system into the future.