CMS Reminder: Some people still have time to #GetCovered for 2021; ~5M Americans should see expanded #ARP subsidies starting in September
CMS tells Inside Health Policy that it will be releasing a final report on its COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period in September and points out that consumers who submitted their applications by the Aug. 15 SEP deadline still have 30 days to select a plan. Additionally, staffers are contacting the “very small group” of consumers who reached out to the Marketplace Call Center just before the deadline but were unable to get through to a representative so that those individuals have a chance to enroll, the agency confirms.
The final report was obvious, since the 2021 "No Excuses Needed" SEP still ran through August 15th in most states (and is still ongoing in a few), but I figured they'd come out with it in late August, not September.
I admit that I didn't know (or had forgotten?) about those who submitted their apps prior to 8/15 still having a full month to select a plan. Granted, if they wait until mid-September their coverage won't start until October, giving them just 3 months to use up a full 12-month deductible, but still.
The administration most recently reported that more than 2.5 million Americans had newly signed up for coverage via healthcare.gov or a state-based exchange since HHS opened the SEP on Feb. 15. Another 2.6 million existing consumers returned to the healthcare.gov to access the higher ACA tax credits raised under the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Starting Sept. 1, CMS will automatically adjust APTCs for consumers who are eligible for more assistance under the ARP but have not updated their applications.
There were around 7.74 million people enrolled in ACA exchange policies via the 36 HealthCare.Gov states as of mid-February (another 3.55 million were enrolled via the 15 state-based ACA exchanges, but most of those already started automatically applying the extra tax credits months ago), so that's around 5.1 million enrollees who will start receiving extra savings starting in September...many of whom may still have no idea that they're eligible for it.
In addition, assuming they've been enrolled since January 2021, that means the same ~5 million ACA enrollees will also receive another 8 months worth of extra ARP subsidies when they file their 2021 federal taxes next spring.
Assuming these enrollees see similar savings to the 2.6 million enrollees who already went in and updated their accounts, that means as many as 5 million people will receive a bonus 2021 federal tax refund of roughly $336 apiece ($42/mo x 8 months) in addition to the ~$168 in savings they'll see from September - December.
In addition, most of the other 5-6 million who enrolled prior to the expanded ARP subsidies going live who've already been receiving the expanded subsidies will also receive some amount of retroactive tax credits dating from January through whenever they updated their accounts.
It's imporant to remember that the 2021 "No Excuse Needed" SEP is still happening in five states plus DC (representing around 22% of the total national population):
- California: thru the end of 2021
- Connecticut: thru Oct. 31st
- District of Columbia: thru "end of pandemic"
- New Jersey: thru Nov. 30th
- New York: thru the end of 2021
- Vermont: thru October 1st