President Joe Biden performed a victory lap on Friday after the US $ 1.9 trillion bailout was passed, and perhaps one of the most important pieces of the law is the massive changes it will bring health care coverage to the United States – the largest since the passage of the Affordable Care Act under the Obama administration.
“For the first time in a long time, this bill puts workers in this country first,” Biden said in a speech at the Rose Garden.
Earlier on Friday, senior administration officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to freely discuss the details of the legislation, explained how the plan will expand health care coverage as well as cut back costs by increasing subsidies for those who purchase insurance through the exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act – sometimes also referred to as Obamacare.
Americans will be able to access these grants on the federal stock exchange starting April 1.
The main provisions of the law require Americans to pay no more than 8.5% of their income on health insurance premiums and provide a larger tax credit to 9 million people who receive financial assistance, helping them to hedge in the market. Those whose incomes represent 400% of the federal poverty line, which stands at just over $ 51,500 per year, will be able to receive assistance in purchasing affordable health care coverage.
The Biden administration estimates that through cost sharing, Obamacare premiums will decrease by an average of $ 50 per month. An administration official pointed out that four in five registrants “will be able to buy a plan for $ 10 or less per month” and said this could be important for the 14.9 million people who are uninsured in the States. United.
Thanks to the US bailout, administration officials said uninsured couples earning more than $ 70,000 could save $ 1,000 a month on their monthly premiums, a family of four earning $ 90,000 will see their premiums decrease by $ 200 per month and a person earning $ 19,000 will not have to pay a monthly premium.
The law ensures that those who buy their own insurance automatically become eligible for the new tax credits as of April 1. this date will have to update his plan to reduce his premiums.
More than 200,000 Americans have signed up for coverage since Biden opened a special enrollment period on February 15. This period continues until May 15.
Administration officials stressed that individuals will need to register or update their plans to receive the savings, although they said it would also be possible to claw back those grants in tax season.
Officials said it was technologically difficult to apply the grant automatically, though they are trying to find ways to automate this later this year.
“The agency will work around the clock to implement these revisions, making sure the American people know they can find quality, affordable coverage on Healthcare.gov,” an official said. “And that’s whether they’re currently enrolled, whether they’re currently uninsured or unemployed.”
Residents of states that have their own health insurance scholarships and do not use Healthcare.gov will still have access to these savings, but they will need to contact their states to get a better idea of their state’s timeline – which may differ.
The law also promises to give people who have received at least one week of unemployment at any time in 2021 the opportunity to obtain health care coverage with a premium of $ 0, although it is expected that it will take more time to integrate it because of the complexity of negotiating this with the States.
It’s unclear how this might affect people who don’t buy their health insurance on the scholarships, and some also worry that the grants will expire in two years if they are not approved by Congress – the establishment of a potentially huge election battle in 2022.
It is also unclear whether states that have not extended Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act will accept the Biden administration’s offer to cover more of the program, a notable part of the plan. American rescue. Twelve states, all controlled by Republican legislatures and most by Republican governors, still have not passed the provision, leaving millions of people without coverage.
The Biden administration continues to work with those states, an official said. In addition, there will soon be a massive awareness campaign to educate consumers on the changes and opportunities.
“March 23 is the 11th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, so I think you can expect a really big push from us,” one official noted.