Extended Access Opportunity to Enroll in More Affordable Coverage
Acknowledging that the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) continues to constitute exceptional circumstances, the Biden administration has recently announced that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for the federal healthcare exchange has been extended through August 15.
The expansion will enable individuals and families more time to access the increased tax subsidy credits included under the American Rescue Plan stimulus, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The additional premium financial assistance became available starting on April 1
- To take advantage of the reductions, current enrollees should submit an application update on or after April first to receive an updated eligibility determination.
- Consumers should use the “report a life change” pathway to update their application, and then click the option for “change to my household’s income,” even if all the information on the application remains the same.
- After receiving a new eligibility determination, consumers can continue their current health plan with a new lower premium, or they can choose a new plan.
- Consumers may instead choose to make a new plan selection, but should consider how much they have already paid toward the deductible when deciding whether or not a change in plan makes sense.
Does the new law change anything about how the affordability of employer-based coverage is determined?
No, employer-based coverage is still considered affordable for an employee and for any dependents to whom an offer extends if the amount the employee would pay for the lowest-cost plan that meets the minimum value standard and covers only the employee does not exceed a certain percentage of the employee’s household income. According to CMS.gov, this is true even if the employee and other members of the household want to enroll in a plan that costs more and/or that covers dependents.
Premium subsidies will also increase for people at higher income levels among those currently eligible for help with incomes up to 400% of the poverty level.
Enhanced Subsidies for Unemployed People
The ARP provides for enhanced marketplace subsidies for people who receive or are approved to receive unemployment insurance (UI) benefits during any week in 2021. The ARP also extends the current federal supplement ($300 per week) to state UI benefits through September 6, 2021. The federal UI supplement is not taken into account in determining eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP.
Contact us if you have questions about how to register during this special enrollment period.