- The federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) makes major improvements in access to and affordability of Marketplace health coverage by increasing eligibility for financial assistance.
- The new law lowers premiums for people with Marketplace health plans and expands access to financial assistance for more consumers.
- More people, even those who weren’t eligible in the past will qualify for help paying for health coverage.
- Most people currently enrolled in a Marketplace plan will qualify for more tax credits.
- Premiums will decrease, on average, by $50 per person per month or by $85 per policy per month. Four out of five enrollees will be able to find a plan for $10 or less/month after premium tax credits, and over 50% will be able to find a Silver plan for $10 or less.
- Families and individuals who are eligible for COBRA coverage can qualify for a 100 percent subsidy for COBRA premiums from April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021. Consumers can enroll or change plans during the 2021 Special Enrollment Period (SEP) through August 15.
Need health insurance now?
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming can help you with the application process, call 800-851-2227 to get started now. You can also call 211 to be connected to a Navigator for assistance.
- All plans are not the same. When picking a plan be sure to check if your health providers are included in the network—in Wyoming and across the nation. Compare premiums and cost-share and the availability of in-person, local member centers that gives you convenient service.
- Select a plan by the end of the month for coverage to start the following month following the enrollment process.
What if I’m already enrolled in a Marketplace plan?
- Talk with your local BCBSWY insurance expert to understand what options are available to you when deciding if you should change or keep your current plan.
- You should update your application and enrollments to qualify for the new eligibility. Reselect your current plan to see any changes that reduce your premiums for the remainder of the year.
- If you want to change to a new plan, here are some things to consider:
- Does the plan still provide the same network access?
- Does it Cover the same services, for example prescription drug benefits, that you need?
- Consider what you have already paid toward your deductible. If you change plans, by moving from one insurance company to another or move from an off-exchange plan to an on-exchange plan, your deductible may be reset to zero and you would start over in paying out of pocket costs. This does not apply if you are switching BCBSWY plans on the Marketplace. You may switch between BCBSWY plans and your current deductible will be applied to the new plan.
Already enrolled in an off-exchange ACA plan?
Off-exchange plans are essentially the same as on-exchange plans but may be purchased directly from the insurance company instead of going through the Marketplace. If you’re considering switching to a different policy on-exchange, we recommend reaching out to your local insurance expert first to discuss your options. If your household income is above 400% of the federal poverty level (approximately $104,800 household income for a family of four OR $51,040 for an individual) you may have not qualitied for any financial assistance before now. Thanks to the new law, you are now eligible to choose a plan on the Marketplace with lower premiums.
If you’re enrolled off-exchange, it’s definitely in your best interest to check out the on-exchange options and see if you’d qualify for additional savings under the new rules.
I recently lost employer-based coverage, or will soon, what should I do?
The new federal law provides a 100 percent subsidy for COBRA premiums from April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021 for eligible individuals and their families.
|Eligible individuals include the following:
- Those who are eligible for COBRA due to involuntary termination of employment or reduction in hours between November 1, 2019 and the present. This includes individuals who elected COBRA coverage after November 1, 2019 and discontinued coverage before April 1, 2021.
- Those who would still be in their COBRA period but did not enroll.
- Those who dropped COBRA coverage but should still be within their COBRA period had they not dropped it.
- Employees and dependents who are COBRA eligible.
|COBRA notices must be issued to eligible individuals with updated subsidy and SEP information by May 31, 2021. The SEP will end 60 days after the date the notices are sent to eligible individuals and a notice of expiration must be issued before the premium subsidy expires.
Standard COBRA rules apply regarding the type of coverage that must be offered during the SEP and employers may allow eligible individuals the opportunity to change elections to other plan options that have the same or lower cost premiums.
The BCBSWY COBRA administrator, Lifetime Benefit Solutions (LBS) or BCBSWY will issue the required notices to eligible individuals and ask you to attest that you meet the qualifications for the COBRA premium subsidy. You will need to return the attestation to LBS no later than May 31, 2021.
I’ve been receiving unemployment compensation this year, what should I do?
If you received unemployment compensation at any point this year, you’ll be eligible for a $0 premium Silver plan in the Marketplace with the highest cost-sharing reductions.
If you’re already enrolled in a Marketplace plan and you’re receiving or have received unemployment compensation this year, you’ll want to take a close look at any new coverage options.
I’m already paying a very low premium or no premium, should I take action?
If you are already paying low or no premiums, you may find plans with more generous cost-sharing and lower out of pocket costs and benefit from changing plans. Premiums after tax credits will decrease, on average, by $50 per person per month. Four out of five enrollees will be able to find a plan for $10 or less/month with premium tax credits, and over 50% will be able to find a Silver plan for $10 or less with tax credits.
You may be able to find plans with lower out of pocket expenses and lower deductibles for a premium similar to what you’re currently paying.
Will HealthCare.gov automatically update premium tax credits on behalf of current enrollees?
If you don’t take action, you’ll still receive the additional benefit as part of your premium tax credit when filing your federal income tax return next year.