Affordable Care Act: Lower Premiums, More Choice for Obamacare 2022 Open Enrollment


As of mid-September, a record 12.2 million Americans were enrolled in the policies of the Affordable Care Act.

However, Biden and the Democrats in Congress are also trying to ensure that 2022 is not the last year that the enhanced bonus subsidies for the US bailout will be in place. They had hoped to make the boosted aid permanent as part of their $ 3.5 trillion social spending plan, but it looks like the extension will only be cut back to a few years as the party seeks to lower the price of bill to attract moderate Democrats. on board.

Lower premiums

According to the report released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the average premium for the referral plan for money in 2022 will decline by 3% per month for the 33 states that participate in the federal exchange,

This is the fourth year in a row that premiums have fallen as insurers are better able to price their policies based on plan members’ health care needs and as markets become more competitive. The average premium for the benchmark scheme is 10% lower for a 27-year-old and 9% lower for a family of four compared to 2018, before subsidies for example.

“While inflation seems to raise the prices of many of the products we need and use, the good news is that when it comes to health care in the Affordable Care Act scholarships, there are high chances that you will see a drop in the price of your premiums, ”Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra told CNN.

But even fewer people will pay the sticker price for 2022 coverage thanks to the enhanced premium subsidies. The cheapest average plan for those enrolled in a federal exchange will cost $ 41 per month after aid, compared to $ 441 without grants. Many low-income members can choose policies with no monthly premium or that cost just a few dollars.

According to the agency, four in five consumers will be able to find coverage for $ 10 or less after improved subsidies.

RELATED: New Obamacare Stimulus Grants Begin

Democrats’ $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan, which Biden signed in March, made two subsidy changes to address long-standing complaints that Obamacare plans are not affordable for many people , especially the middle class.

Enrollers pay no more than 8.5% of their income for coverage, compared to almost 10%. And low-income policyholders receive subsidies that eliminate their premiums.

Additionally, those earning more than 400% of the federal poverty line – about $ 51,000 for an individual and $ 104,800 for a family of four in 2021 – are now eligible for the first time.

The subsidy enhancement, which the Biden administration is touting strongly in hopes of further boosting enrollment, is in effect for this year and next, unless Congress acts.

About 12 million people selected policies or were automatically re-enrolled in coverage during last year’s open enrollment period for 2021, the first time enrollment increased under the Trump administration.

Compare the prices

Still, even with the enhanced grants, it’s important that people actively shop for 2022 coverage, rather than getting rolled into the same plan, said Cynthia Cox, director of the ACA program at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

With so many new insurers offering plans, it is possible that less expensive options are available.

In addition, the subsidies are partly linked to the premium of the benchmark scheme in his region, which could change each year. If the 2022 reference plan premium decreases, the amount of the subsidy could also decrease. Those with more expensive policies might end up paying even more each month.

“Subsidies can prevent most registrants from paying any premium increases, but that depends on the registrant’s willingness to change plans,” Cox said. “If they’re unwilling to change plans or if they’re just passively re-enrolling, then they might be forced to increase their premiums. It’s important to know what you’re getting into.”

More choice

Some 213 issuers will participate in the federal stock exchange in 2022, 32 more than this year. Registrants will have access to between six and seven issuers and over 107 plans, on average. Both are superior to previous years.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is also investing more money to help people purchase coverage – an effort that was drastically reduced under the Trump administration.

Some 60 sailor organizations received $ 80 million in grants for the 2022 plan year. Almost $ 11.5 million in additional funds are made available to these groups to support outreach, education activities. and additional enrollment during the extended federal exchange enrollment period. The registration season ended on December 15 under the Trump administration.

“We have also quadrupled the number of browsers available to guide consumers through the registration process and extended the open registration period,” Becerra said.

The agency is also running a nationwide broadcast advertising campaign, as well as targeted digital efforts. He works with cultural marketing experts to reach communities with less access to health care, including African Americans and Latinos.

“We’re going to make sure we get the word out,” he said, noting that the agency has really boosted the advertising budget. “We are also targeting communities that have often been left behind, that are not reached. “

Three states create their own exchanges

Three states – Kentucky, Maine and New Mexico – have launched their own exchanges for 2022. This gives them more control over negotiations with insurers over costs, as well as over the management and marketing of their periods. ‘registration open.

Maine, for example, is providing $ 350,000 for a statewide consumer helpline, as well as training and technical support for 2022, up from $ 200,000 this year.

The move to a state-based market will also save residents money, as they will no longer have to pay a surcharge on premiums collected by the federal stock exchange. In Kentucky, for example, registrants are expected to save at least $ 15 million per year.

This story has been updated with an additional comment.

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