AmRescuePlan

via MNsure:

MNsure Statement Regarding Federal Changes to the Affordable Care Act

ST. PAUL, Minn.—On Thursday, March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, which includes several key health care provisions to the Affordable Care Act that will expand benefits available to Minnesotans through MNsure. This includes an increase in the amount of tax credits MNsure enrollees receive to help them pay for their premiums and an expansion of tax credits to middle-income Minnesotans who previously fell outside income thresholds for financial help. This increase in benefits means Minnesotans who purchase health insurance through MNsure will be able to find a plan with premiums that cost no more than 8.5% of their household income.

This is from a couple of weeks ago, but I'm reposting it standalone for clarity. Via DC Health Link:

Premium Drop for DC Health Link Coverage Thanks to the American Rescue Plan

  • $36 million in yearly insurance premium savings for DC residents with DC Health Link coverage; coverage available for as little as $2/month for laid-off residents; 100% of COBRA premium paid for laid-off workers 

Washington, DC – Today, the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority announced major savings for residents in the District of Columbia who purchase private health insurance through DC Health Link, the District’s state-based online health insurance marketplace established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Now signed into law by President Biden, the American Rescue Plan reduces premiums for health insurance through DC Health Link, provides health insurance for as little as $2/month to people who lost their jobs, and pays for 100% of COBRA for laid-off workers. We estimate that residents will save about $36 million in premiums.

via Access Health CT (via forwarded email):

Dear Brokers,
 
A lot has transpired regarding the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021*. Our team has been meeting with CMS, other state-based marketplaces, our insurance carriers, and other stakeholders, and is in the process of putting together a strategic plan to implement these changes.

We know some of you might be getting questions from customers/stakeholders in the days to come since the federal exchange (Healthcare.gov) will have a robust national campaign supported by President Biden to help spread the word. Here’s what you should know: 

Timelines are/will be different: Healthcare.gov will be implementing the subsidy expansion and a possible Special Enrollment Period at a different time than Access Health CT (AHCT). It may start earlier and may end later than CT (we do not know dates at this time).

Access Health CT:

I actually posted this a couple of weeks ago, but am reposting it as a standalone entry for clarity. Via Connect for Health Colorado:

American Rescue Plan Makes Health Insurance More Affordable for More Coloradans Shopping through the Exchange

DENVER — Yesterday afternoon, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021(American Rescue Plan) into law. Connect for Heath Colorado® Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Patterson, released the following statement in response to provisions which strengthen the Affordable Care Act and increase affordability:

“We are thrilled and getting ready to implement the health coverage provisions outlined in this law. This expansion of financial help will provide greater access to savings on the health plans we offer. This means more affordable health insurance for many more Coloradans.”

Alabama & Wyoming Icons

The American Rescue Plan does plenty to make private ACA-compliant health insurance dramatically more affordable for everyone earning more than 100% of the Federal Poverty Level. For those below 100% FPL, however, it takes an indirect approach. As I wrote a few weeks ago:

One possible "solution" would have been to simply remove the lower-bound income cut-off point for ACA exchange subsidy eligibility (that is, to lower the threshold from 100% FPL to 0%)...However, this would create two new problems: First, Medicaid is far more comprehensive than nearly all ACA plans...Secondly, if the lower-end subsidy cut-off were removed, it's almost certain that quite a few states which have already expanded the program would reverse themselves and allow Medicaid expansion to expire, in order to save the 10% portion of the cost that they have to pay.

When the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP) achieved final passage on March 10th, it did so almost exclusively along party lines. I say "almost" because there was a single Democratic House member who voted against it: Representative Jared Golden (ME-02).

I fully understand the tightrope that some swing district Dems have to walk. To his credit, Rep. Golden voted to impeach Donald Trump not once, but twice (though he only voted in favor of one of the 2 articles of impeachment against him the first time around). I certainly don't expect every single Democrat to vote the party line on every single bill.

In the end, the bill passed anyway, if only by a handful of votes; my guess is that he even received Speaker Pelosi's unofficial blessing to vote against it, as long as she knew for sure it would pass regardless.

IRS Logo

A few days ago I called out Axios healthcare reporter Sam Baker and others who spread the jaw-droppingly inaccurate claim that the American Rescue Plan (ARP) will spend anywhere from $25,000 - $40,000 per person to provide healthcare coverage to uninsured individuals.

Everyone who spread this disinformation was getting both the numerator and the denominator wrong. In short, they were claiming that the federal government was going to spend up to $53 billion to provide healthcare coverage to a mere 1.3 million people for as little as a six-month period (which would amount to an insane $80,000 per year apiece if true...which it isn't).

As I explained in painstaking detail, the actual amount being spent per person is more like $3,300 apiece for anywhere from 14.2 million to 18.6 million people depending on whether you're going by the House or Senate CBO score (and the final version of the ARP was the Senate version).

NOTE: SEE SUMMARY TABLE IN UPDATE ALL THE WAY AT THE END.

I'm doing my best to stop myself from putting my head through a wall this weekend.

You may have seen this viral tweet making the rounds over the past day or so:

The Democrats just spent $52 billion to subsidize COBRA for 1.3 million people until September. That’s $40k per person for less than 6 months of health insurance. Most countries spend about $5-6k per person per year for universal healthcare.

— cabral (@axcomrade) March 12, 2021

This was posted at 12:22pm on Friday, March 12th, 2021. It's still live as of 11:00am on Sunday the 14th, has over 32,700 Likes and has been retweeted over 7,300 times as of this writing, but in case it's deleted by the time you read this, here's a screen shot:

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has just sent out guidance about how the newly-expanded & enhanced subsidies will work for those currently enrolled in (or newly enrolling in) healthcare policies via the federal ACA exchange, HealthCare.Gov.

It's important to note that the following guidelines only apply to residents of the 36 states hosted via HC.gov. The timing, policy and procedures for the new/expanded subsidies for residents of the 15 states which operate their own ACA exchanges may vary.

With that in mind, here's how CMS says things will work via HealthCare.Gov.

The first section is mostly just an overview of the ARP and a refresher on how ACA subsidies are calculated...

American Rescue Plan and the Marketplace

The New Law

President Biden

Yesterday I wrote a long, wonky post about an unusual case involving a legally-present (green card), unemployed Nigerian immigrant.

The short version is that because his income is so low, he normally wouldn't be eligible for ACA subsidies...except because he lives in Maryland, a Medicaid expansion state, he would normally be eligible for Medicaid...except that because he's an immigrant who's been in the United States for less than five years, he isn't eligible for Medicaid...except that, thanks to an obscure provision baked into the Affordable Care Act, he is eligible for ACA subsidies after all!

‘(B) SPECIAL RULE FOR CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS LAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES.—If—

‘‘(i) a taxpayer has a household income which is not greater than 100 percent of an amount equal to the poverty line for a family of the size involved, and

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