WASHINGTON (AP) – Millions of people in the United States will be spared big increases in health care costs next year after President Joe Biden signed legislation that extends generous subsidies to those who buy plans through the federal and state marketplaces. .
The global climate, tax and health care bill sets aside $70 billion over the next three years to keep down out-of-pocket premium costs for roughly 13 million people, just before the reduced prices expire in a year besieged by records. high inflation
As the calendar neared the Nov. 1 open enrollment date, Sara Cariano got nervous about her work helping people in Virginia sign up for subsidized private health insurance on the HealthCare website. gov.
“I expected a very difficult conversation with people about why their premiums were going up,” said Cariano, a policy specialist at the Virginia Poverty Law Center.
But the passage of the “Inflation Reduction Act” erased those concerns.
“Things aren’t going to change for the worse for people who buy coverage through the marketplace,” he said.
The bill would expand subsidies temporarily offered last year when Congress and Biden signed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill that significantly reduced premiums and out-of-pocket costs for to customers who buy plans through the Affordable Care Act marketplace. It also continues to lower costs for more people and families living well above the poverty line.
Only Democrats supported the expanded health care subsidies and the other proposals in the bill that Biden signed into law on Tuesday. Republicans criticized the move as a major government overreach that will only make inflation worse. In reality, economists say, the bill will do little to fan or extinguish the flames of exorbitant prices.
According to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation, health insurance premiums in the marketplace are expected to rise significantly next year, by about 10 percent. The expanded subsidies, which determine premium payments based on income, will protect most people from these price increases, said Cynthia Cox, the foundation’s vice president.
“Generally speaking, people shouldn’t see increases in their premiums,” Cox said.
Those who bought plans on the government marketplace saved an average of about $700 in premium payments with the subsidies this year, according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates.
As costs fell, more people signed up for coverage over the past year, and the number of people without health insurance dropped to a record low of 8 percent in August, the Department of Health and Human Services. Approximately 26 million people, 2% of them children, remain uninsured in the US
In California, many of the 1.7 million people who buy health insurance through Covered California, the state-run insurance marketplace, will continue to see savings ranging from $29 to $324 a month, depending on your income level.
State officials predict about 220,000 people will be spared from being out of coverage. Between 2 and 3 million people in California could also turn to the state market if they lose coverage through Medicaid when the federal government’s COVID-19 public health emergency expires. About 15 million people in the United States have expanded Medicaid coverage during the pandemic.
Cost is the biggest factor in whether a person signs up for coverage or not, said Joseph Poindexter, senior director of health insurance programs at HealthCare Access Maryland.
Some parents, for example, enroll their children in Medicaid but skip buying coverage for themselves, he said.
“It’s very sad to see people who will say, I’m going to give up treatment or I’m not going to see the doctor,” Poindexter said.
Fewer people have had to do that calculation with the subsidies, said Poindexter, who attributed the price reduction to a 9 percent increase in new enrollees in the state last year.