Thousands of Connecticut residents who buy individual health insurance on their own may qualify for tax credits that could get them cheaper coverage through the health insurance marketplace, according to new data.
Statewide, 15,000 residents could save money by taking advantage of tax credits through the health insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
“More than 9 million Americans already receive financial assistance through the health insurance marketplace to help keep coverage affordable, but (this) data show millions more Americans could benefit,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a statement.
HHS urges all consumers to explore their options on HealthCare.gov and on the state marketplace, Access Health CT, and see whether they qualify for financial assistance.
“Marketplace consumers who qualify for financial assistance usually have the option to buy coverage with a premium of less than $75 per month,” Burwell said.
Those who use financial assistance will largely be protected from insurance rate increases, according to HHS, because tax credits will increase “in parallel” with premium rates. In a hypothetical scenario in which 2017 rates jumped by 25 percent, the department found 73 percent of current marketplace consumers would still be able to get coverage for less than $75 per month with tax credits.
The HHS data, released Tuesday, found that 2.5 million people nationwide who buy individual coverage off-marketplace may qualify for tax credits.
Roughly 6.9 million Americans now buy insurance in the off-marketplace individual market, HHS’ analysis found. Of those, about 1.9 million of those people have incomes that would qualify them for Medicaid, put them in the Medicaid coverage gap, or are ineligible to purchase marketplace plans due to their immigration status, HHS found. The remainder could enroll in marketplace qualified health plans, known as QHPs.
More than 70 percent of all QHP-eligible people currently insured through the individual market – both in the marketplace and off-marketplace – have incomes that could qualify them for tax credits, HHS found.
Many are unaware of the financial assistance available through the marketplace, according to HHS officials.
Consumers could qualify for help if their incomes are between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level – about $100,000 for a family of four.
To help spread the word, HHS will work during the upcoming open enrollment period to increase awareness.
The department also aims to make it easier for young adults to transition from a parent’s plan into the marketplace.
Open enrollment for 2017 health insurance coverage begins Nov. 1 and runs until Dec. 15; that’s when consumers can enroll, re-enroll or change a 2017 insurance plan through the health insurance marketplace for coverage starting as soon as Jan. 1, 2017.
Individuals have until Jan. 31 to enroll in or change a 2017 health plan, but those who enroll after Dec. 15 are not guaranteed coverage that will start Jan. 1. The only way to enroll after Jan. 31 is to qualify for a special enrollment period with a qualifying life event.