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COVID-19 > FAQ about Health Insurance and the American Rescue Plan
Frequently Asked Questions about Health Insurance and the American Rescue Plan

The New Hampshire Insurance Department is issuing an FAQ document for consumers to address questions and concerns related to the American Rescue Plan of 2021.

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1. How does the American Rescue Plan (ARP) impact my health insurance options?
The ARP was signed into law in March 2021 by President Biden and includes provisions to make health insurance more affordable for individuals and families enrolled in plans through Healthcare.gov. The subsidy enhancements are effective during the 2021 and 2022 calendar years. Now, more people will qualify for help paying for health insurance, even if they were not eligible in the past. The new law also includes benefits for people receiving unemployment compensation and COBRA benefits.

2. When can I sign up for a lower cost plan?
From April 1 to August 15, you may be able to receive additional premium tax credits to lower your premium payments and lower out of pocket costs on a plan purchased through Healthcare.gov.

3. What steps do I need to take if I already have a plan through Healthcare.gov?
If you already have a Marketplace plan through Healthcare.gov, log in to your account and update your application. After submitting a new application, you will see your enhanced premium tax credit amounts. If you qualify for more tax credits, re-select your current plan in order for the increased savings to take effect. In addition, you will receive retroactive premium savings when you file your 2021 taxes.

4. What if do not have a plan through Healthcare.gov?
The open enrollment period has been extended from February 15 to August 15. If you do not have insurance or you bought your plan off Healthcare.gov, visit Healthcare.gov to complete an application and enroll in a plan before the August 15 deadline. You will need to pay the first month’s premium for your coverage to take effect.

5. How will this affect the amount I have paid toward my deductible so far this year?
If you select a different plan than the one you are currently enrolled in for this year or add a new family member to your plan, your deductible may re-set even if you stay with the same insurance company.

Call your insurance company before changing plans or adding a new household member to find out if you will need to start over to meet your new plan’s deductible. If you have already paid a lot in out-of-pocket costs toward your deductible, check with your insurance company to see how it might affect you and what options are available to keep credit toward what you have already paid.

6. Who qualifies for the temporary subsidy enhancement?
Premium subsidies will increase for people currently receiving premium tax credits and more people will qualify for lower cost health insurance than ever before.
• People up to 150% of the Federal Poverty Level ($19,140 annual income for an individual) can receive a silver level plan with zero monthly premium and reduced out of pocket costs.
• If your income is between 150% and 400% FPL, you will qualify for additional premium tax credits to reduce the cost of your monthly premium.
• If your income was too high to qualify for a premium tax credits in the past, you may be newly eligible for premium assistance because you are required to contribute no more than 8.5% of your household income toward the benchmark plan.

7. How are premium tax credits calculated?
For consumers who are eligible for premium tax credits, an individual or a family’s tax credit amount is calculated using the following factors:
• Household’s total expected income for the year.
• Total number of people in the household that file taxes together
• The premium amount of the second-lowest cost Silver plan.
When you complete an application on Healthcare.gov, your eligibility determination will include the amount of premium tax credits you can contribute toward the cost of your monthly premium.

8. How do I receive the additional tax credits/lower premiums, if I am currently enrolled in a Marketplace plan?
Current enrollees, including those who recently enrolled during the 2021 Special Enrollment Period, can update their applications to receive the enhanced premium tax credits starting on April 1. If you decide to change plans, you must select a plan with your current insurance company in order to roll over what you have already contributed toward your deductible and maximum out-of-pocket expenses. Otherwise, you may need to start over to reach the deductible and maximum out-of-pocket expense amounts on your new plan.

9. What will happen if I do not update Healthcare.gov application?
Consumers have the choice of waiting until they file their 2021 taxes to receive the additional premium tax credit amount. However, consumers are strongly encouraged to update their application on Healthcare.gov after April 1 to see whether they qualify for enhanced premium tax credits. They may be able to lower their monthly premium or reduce their overall out-of-pocket costs.

10. If I am already paying a very low premium, or no premium, should I take any action?
Consumers who are already paying low or no premiums may find plans with more generous cost-sharing and lower out of pocket costs. Premiums after tax credits will decrease, on average, by $50 per person per month. Four out of five enrollees will be able to find a plan for $10 or less/month with premium tax credits, and over 50% will be able to find a Silver plan for $10 or less with tax credits.

11. What are the benefits to people receiving unemployment benefits?
Beginning in early July, consumers receiving unemployment benefits for any week during 2021 may be able to receive an additional increase in savings when enrolling in a plan or reprocessing their application. More information on these benefits will be forthcoming.

12. What are the benefits to people who qualify for COBRA?
Temporary COBRA premium subsidies are included in the ARP for up to 6 months during 2021. These subsidies will cover 100% of the monthly premium cost for people who are eligible. You will not be required to pay the premium for your COBRA plan and the subsidies will go to your employer, plan administrator, or the insurer. The subsidies can be paid for coverage months no earlier than April 1 and no later than September 30. Consumers should reach out to their COBRA plan administrator for additional information. An FAQ about the COBRA premium assistance program can be found here.

 
   

New Hampshire Insurance Department | 21 South Fruit Street, Suite 14 | Concord, NH 03301
Phone 603.271.2261 | Fax 603.271.1406 | Consumer Hotline 1.800.852.3416

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