Big news for anyone buying their own insurance. The 2021 Special Enrollment Period (SEP) gives more opportunity for individuals that purchase their own insurance with increasing access to affordable coverage. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) provides new and current enrollees increased tax credits to reduce monthly premiums on coverage costs plus more time to re-evaluate their coverage needs. In response to the current public health emergency brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, this SEP gives more people the opportunity to find coverage with reduced premiums than ever before.
This means, for those that haven’t enrolled in coverage this year because of cost or not receiving any premium assistance or those that enrolled already and need more premium assistance, this SEP may help in reducing your healthcare costs.
More changes on healthcare enrollment
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARP), signed by President Biden mid-March has a big impact on health insurance with an increase in affordability and accessibility by reducing health care costs with more tax credits and increasing access to coverage. Those in need of premium assistance may find an increased subsidy amount that started April 1st. Individuals and families may also get a temporary increase in premium tax credits for all income brackets for coverage years 2021 and 2022.
The ARP will ensure consumers eligible for premium tax credits will have plans to choose from that won’t cost more than 8.5% of their household income on their ACA plan yearly premium. Plus the over 400% federal poverty level cap has been removed, allowing more consumers the ability to access tax subsidies on premiums. As a result of receiving more tax credits to reduce plan prices, most people across all household income levels will see lower premiums.
Access this SEP
Anyone seeking individual or family health coverage may enroll in ACA minimum essential coverage plans starting February 15 and is now extended through August 15th. The SEP is currently available to consumers in the 36 states that participate in the Federal Marketplace.
- Consumers who enroll under this SEP will be able to select a plan with coverage that starts prospectively the first of the month after plan selection.
- Consumers will have 30 days after they submit their application to choose a plan.
- This SEP opportunity will not involve any new application questions, or require consumers or enrollment partners to provide any new information not otherwise required to determine eligibility and enroll in coverage.
- In addition, consumers won’t need to provide any documentation of a qualifying event (e.g., loss of a job or birth of a child), which is typically required for SEP eligibility.
Customers who’ve already enrolled in an ACA plan this year and want to access this SEP to see if there are more premium savings available to them now will need to step through their application and update their information. Once submitted, they will receive an updated eligibility result that provides the SEP before continuing to enrollment. There is a possibility of saving more on the enrollee’s current plan or finding a different plan to change to. However, it is important to take into account how far along you are on paying the deductible of your current plan before switching to a new plan and starting back at $0. With many possible scenarios, questions will arise on how to best navigate this new SEP.
We can help
Speaking to a licensed agent will give you the opportunity to work with a specialist that can help explain these new health insurance options and see what plans are best for you.
We have agents that will:
- Help determine subsidy eligibility
- Help update federal marketplace information like employment or income level changes.
- Compare plans in your area for most affordable or specific benefit needs
- Assess where you are at on your current plan’s deductible and determine if switching plans or keeping the plan you have will save you more and make the most sense.
Getting assistance in this time can be beneficial to make sure you are getting all your questions answered and understanding all your coverage options. Our licensed agents are able to answer any questions and assist you in your health insurance enrollment. Call 866-998-7493 to speak to a VelaPoint licensed agent to answer any questions you may have and explore your coverage options.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS.gov) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS.gov)