Millions more can get assistance paying for health insurance, thanks to the American Rescue Plan and the Inflation Reduction Act
Laura Packard – Ohio Capital Journal
If you don’t have health insurance — or just want to explore your options — go to healthcare.gov on or before Jan. 15 to get covered with affordable health insurance now.
Having and keeping good quality affordable health care is personal for me. The Affordable Care Act saved my life.
In 2017, I walked into a doctor’s office with a nagging cough and walked out with a stage four cancer diagnosis. My Obamacare policy paid for the six months of chemotherapy and a month of radiation treatments I needed to be in remission today. As a small business owner, before the ACA I was only eligible for junk insurance. If I still had that policy, I would be bankrupt or dead.
Nobody knows what our future holds. From an accident to an unexpected diagnosis, we all deserve great health care when we need it. When we are sick or injured, our focus should be on healing, not living through sleepless nights worrying how to pay for it.
In the past, Affordable Care Act health insurance policies weren’t always affordable for some middle class Americans like me and perhaps you, too. At the time I was diagnosed, I did not qualify for financial help.
But thanks to Congress and President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan and now the Inflation Reduction Act, millions more can get assistance paying for their health insurance. Your premiums are capped at no more than 8.5% of your income, and you may be eligible for cost-sharing to bring down prices even more. Four out of 5 Americans can find coverage options for $10 a month or less.
About 260,000 Ohioans with Marketplace coverage are saving an average of about $810 annually on their Marketplace health care premiums from the ARP subsidies that the Inflation Reduction Acton continued.
These health insurance savings are especially important for self-employed people, small business owners and employees, gig workers, temp workers, and older people who have retired but are not yet eligible for Medicare.
To find out what discounts you are eligible for (and also whether you may be eligible for Medicaid or other programs in your state), go to healthcare.gov and plug in your estimated income for 2023. If you live in a state with its own state-based health insurance exchange, you will be redirected to the website for your state.
The deadline for open enrollment is Jan. 15. After that date, you would only be able to sign up if you qualified for a special enrollment period — perhaps you moved, or experienced a life change such as getting married or divorced, or lost health insurance through your employer.
There is much more work to do, but we have come far on making health care more affordable in the past few years.
Even if you didn’t qualify for help before, the subsidies available through the Inflation Reduction Act mean that millions more Americans like you and I will get financial assistance. Take a few minutes to go through your options, and figure out what coverage possibilities you’re eligible for.
If there is more you want to know about open enrollment and your options, check out my CareTalk show and podcast, where experts answer your health insurance questions and talk through larger issues in our health care system.
Time is running out to ensure you and your family have access to affordable health care this year. The life you save could be your own. Get covered through healthcare.gov today.
Laura Packard is a stage 4 cancer survivor and Denver-based health care advocate, founder of Voices of Health Care Action and executive director of Health Care Voter. She hosts CareTalk, a weekly consumer call-in show on health care and health insurance issues in America on Mondays at 4:30 p.m. Eastern time.
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