(Salem) – The American Rescue Plan, signed by President Biden last week, incorporates big savings for Americans who buy health coverage through the Marketplace. The changes expand access to premium tax credits and increase the amount of premium tax credits that people can receive.
The new guidelines removes the upper income limit to qualify for financial assistance, and also sets more strict limits on the most health insurance premiums can cost in relation to gross income. For example, a 55-year-old individual living in La Grande who earns $63,800 per year previously would not have qualified for premium tax credits. Under the new guidelines, this individual will qualify for approximately $442 in monthly savings, lowering a Silver level plan from $876 per month to $434 per month.
People already receiving premium tax credits will also see savings. These savings are retroactive to Jan. 1. Enrollees will see these savings when they file taxes next year, or can take advantage as early as April 1 by logging in to HealthCare.gov and updating their application for 2021 coverage.
The American Rescue Plan also provides assistance to anyone who has been eligible for or has received unemployment insurance benefits for at least one week in 2021. The new guidelines disregard any household income of more than 133 percent of the federal poverty level for anyone in this group for the purposes of calculating financial assistance. This means anyone whose income is too high to qualify for the Oregon Health Plan, Oregon’s Medicaid program, will be eligibile for substantial savings on both monthly premiums and other out-of-pocket costs.
People who are interested to see their estimated costs under the new guidelines can visit OregonHealthCare.gov/WindowShop after April 1. The tool will be updated to reflect the extra savings that people in Oregon should expect from the Marketplace.
“The health coverage savings that Oregonians will see from the American Rescue Plan are significant,” said Chiqui Flowers, administrator of the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. “Previous rules made health coverage unaffordable and out of reach for some Oregonians. The new eligibility rules change that for many people.”
To apply, go to OregonHealthCare.gov after April 1 and answer a few Oregon-specific questions to get to the right application. You can also search the “get help” directory on OregonHealthCare.gov to find an insurance agent or community partner organization to help complete the application and enroll. Insurance agents and community partners provide local, one-on-one assistance at no charge to the client. This help is available virtually and over the phone, and in person following safety protocols.