Health Insurance Premiums Expected to Rise

Inflation has been on the rise for some time now, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be slowing down anytime soon. The rising costs of gas and groceries have been tough on many Americans, and as if that wasn’t enough, health insurance premiums are now expected to increase, as well. The reasons for the increase include the effects of the pandemic, shrinking tax credits, prices set by drug manufacturers, and other health care costs. And unless Congress extends the expanded subsidies for Marketplace coverage, premiums could increase by 50% for some. Don’t panic yet, though:  there are ways that you can save.

Tax Credits Disappearing

stopwatch approaching the word deadline
The American Rescue Plan Act was approved for only 2 years, which means tax credits are coming to an end next year. 

The American Rescue Plan Act, which was signed into law in March 2021, allowed Americans earning any amount of money to enjoy tax credits or premium subsidies, and also capped the amount that anyone pays for premiums at 8.5% of their income. Unfortunately, though, Congress put a two-year limit on these provisions, and at the end of this time, premiums are set to rise by more than 50% on average for people getting health coverage through a Marketplace plan.

“The default is that the expanded subsidies will expire at the end of this year,” said Cynthia Cox, a vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation and director of its Affordable Care Act program. “On average, premiums would go up more than 50%, but for some, it will be more.”

And if Congress does not extend the expanded tax credits, only people with household incomes of 100% to 400% of the federal poverty level will qualify for subsidies.

Increases in Drug Prices

What’s making the problem worse is that the prices of new drugs in the U.S. have climbed for more than a decade. According to a research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the launch prices of new brand-name drugs increased by nearly 11% every year from 2008 through 2021.

Eric Linzer, President and CEO of the NY Health Plan Association, says state legislatures are also contributing to higher premium costs, specifically with bills that prohibit any kind of change in health plan formularies (or the list of prescription drugs covered by insurance plans). For example, Bill S.4111/A.4668 would prohibit health insurance plans from making mid-year pharmacy formulary changes, resulting in higher health insurance premiums and exacerbating the increasing cost of drugs. graph going upwards with a green arrow

In addition, several states have passed legislation that prohibits the use of copay accumulator adjustment programs (CAAP), or accumulator adjustment programs. These programs seek to reverse the impact of manufacturer cost-sharing assistance for prescription drugs by not counting the manufacturer assistance amount towards a patient’s deductible and out-of-pocket maximums. If the co-pay assistance is not counted against the patient’s deductibles and coinsurance amounts, it will drive up the patient’s health care costs overall.

“If we’re going to get those costs under control and make premiums more affordable for individuals and employers it’s important that policymakers look at what the underlying costs are. 82% or more of the premium dollar goes to pay for doctors visits, hospital stays, prescription drug costs,” said Linzer.

Find Affordable Health Insurance

Even though health insurance costs are rising, it doesn’t mean you can’t find an affordable plan that provides the coverage you need. And remember, it’s always better to get a plan before an accident happens, or a chronic condition develops or worsens.

EZ provides you with easy, instant, accurate quotes with no strings attached. Your own personal advisor will provide you with instant quotes and a comparison of all the other top plans available. Not only will you save time and money, but you also won’t have to pay us a cent for our services. We have the technology and network to cut hours of time spent comparing plans down to seconds. When you visit our site, you’ll leave with complete details and comparisons from dozens of plans available to you. These come from our team of experts, who filter all insurance plans to find the most suitable to your health needs and budget. 

Don’t waste any more time missing out on savings! To get your instant quotes, enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak to an agent, call 888-350-1890.

Don’t Qualify For a Subsidy? EZ’s Got You Covered!

Qualifying for health insurance subsidies has gotten much easier these days, now that President Biden has extended premium subsidies to those who earn up to 400% of the federal poverty level. That means that millions more Americans can save hundreds of dollars a year on insurance – but it doesn’t mean that everyone qualifies. So what if you don’t qualify for a subsidy? Can you still save money? When you work with an EZ agent, you will! Find out what the qualifications are for a subsidy and how we can help you save even if you don’t qualify.

Who Qualifies For A Subsidy?white silhouette of a person with their hand on their chin and a red question mark behind it

Because of Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARP), qualifying for subsidies is not as difficult as it used to be. To be eligible, you now must either:

  • Have an income at or below 400% of the Federal Poverty Level. 
  • Have premium payments that exceed 8.5% of your overall household income. 

Individuals whose income is lower than 400% the Federal Poverty Level will receive higher

Because of this expansion, more than a third of the people who bought health insurance during the COVID/ARP Special Enrollment Period this year purchased plans for less than $10/month! So it is definitely worth it to take a look and see if you are eligible for a subsidy; an EZ agent can check for you at no cost. It can be confusing trying to figure out what you qualify for, but we can help you every step of the way. 

If You Don’t Qualify…

You can still save money! There are still ways for you to save money when purchasing a health insurance plan, by working with a licensed and trained EZ agent: we know all the ins and outs of finding people affordable insurance that works for them. For example, did you know that if you are under 30, or if you qualify for a hardship exemption, you can get a catastrophic plan? These plans are ACA-compliant, and have high-deductibles, but low monthly premiums. They are generally for healthy people who do not foresee ever meeting their deductible because they are in good health. 

illustration of a woman with a laptop screen and money next to her

But what if you are over 30 or don’t qualify for a hardship exemption, or have health issues and need a more comprehensive health plan? Well, you can still save money! EZ can help you because we offer a wide range of health insurance plans from top-rated insurance companies in every state. Because we work with so many companies and can offer all of the plans available in your area, we can help you enroll in a plan that saves you a lot of money – even hundreds of dollars – even if you don’t qualify for a subsidy. There is no obligation, or hassle, just free quotes on all available plans in your area. To get free instant quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak to a local agent, call 888-350-1890.

Is the Child Tax Credit Extension on the Chopping Block?

The ongoing pandemic has brought financial hardship to many people in this country; to help alleviate this, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law in March, as part of the $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill. The ARP extended temporary child tax credits, giving the parents of 60 million children $250-$300 per child each month, which has had a measurable impact on child poverty. The Biden Administration had originally proposed extending these tax credits through 2025, while other Democrats are pushing for a permanent extension; however, as Democrats seek ways to cut costs for their spending plan, the child tax credit extension might now only remain in place for one more year.

The Impact Of The Child Tax Credit Extensionyound children smiling with a plate of food in their hands

The American Rescue Plan increased payments for parents of children aged 6-16 from the $2,000 offered in 2020 to $3000, with a $600 bonus for children under age 6 (or $250-$300 dollars per month). These payments have had a dramatic effect: according to a study from the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University, the first two checks lifted almost 3.5 million children out of poverty. If this rate were to continue through 2025, the percentage of children living in poverty in this country would decrease from 14.2% to 8.4%. 

Is the Tax Credit Stopping People From Working?

Some politicians are criticizing the child tax credit extension, and are suggesting that it be subjected to further means testing based on household income. For example, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has proposed changes to the child tax credit, including limiting it only to families with an income of $60,000 or below, and adding a work requirement.

Currently, couples with household incomes of up to $150,000 in adjusted gross income and single parents households with incomes of up to $112,500 can receive the child tax credit extension. 

A study from University of Chicago economist Bruce Meyer found that 1.5 million workers, or around 2.6% of working parents, would leave the labor force over the next two years if the credit is extended. While this might concern some, the effect of adopting the $60,000 income threshold for eligibility would be that almost 37 million children would miss out on the tax credit.

2022 calendar with all the months
For now, the child tax credit will be extended until the end of 2022.

Where The Child Tax Credit Extension Stands

The 3-year extension to the credit proposed by the House is still on the table, and there might still be changes made to the program. Democrats have yet to vote on it, and then they will need to write the actual legislation. 

Representative Jared Huffman, who was in the meeting with progressives and moderate Democrats at the White House on October 19th, told reporters afterward that he did not “think any of that is written in stone, at this point.”

“[Biden’s] not jettisoning lots of elements of this thing. But he is working on the duration of some of them, and I don’t think any of it was fully resolved,” Huffman said.

For now, it looks like the child tax credit extension will continue through 2022.

Does Your Health Insurance Plan Cover Your Basic Needs? Find Out If It Is ACA-Compliant

When former President Obama came into office, one of his top priorities was to make sure all Americans were insured, and thus the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, was enacted in March 2010. The ACA has not only made health insurance easier to get for millions of Americans, but it has also meant that now all health insurance plans must cover certain basic needs, as long as they are ACA-compliant. Knowing if your plan is ACA-compliant or non-compliant will help you to get the most out of your health insurance plan, and to know if you need to switch your plan to one that is compliant.

What Does ACA-Compliant Mean?

ACA-compliant health insurance plans are known as qualified Major Medical health plans, and  cover the 10 essential health benefits with no annual or lifetime coverage maximums. These essential benefits include: illustration of a man laying in a hospital bed with a doctor standing next to him

  1. Hospitalization
  2. Ambulatory services (visits to doctors and other healthcare professionals and outpatient hospital care)
  3. Emergency services
  4. Maternity and newborn care
  5. Services to treat mental health disorders and problems with substance abuse
  6. Prescription drugs
  7. Lab tests
  8. Preventive services, including things like contraception, blood pressure screening, breast cancer screening, colorectal cancer screening, obesity screening and counseling, tobacco use counseling and interventions, and breastfeeding counseling
  9. Pediatric services for children, including dental and vision care
  10. Rehabilitative and habilitative services

ACA-compliant plans are also guaranteed issue during the open enrollment period, which means that any pre-existing conditions will not play a role in your eligibility for a health insurance plan.

Non-Compliant Plans

illustration of a gray clock without numbers
Short term plans are not ACA-compliant, but are cheaper and temporary for when you can sign up for an ACA-compliant plan.

Other types of health plans that do not cover the 10 essential benefits, sometimes called traditional plans, are considered non-compliant with the ACA. Non-compliant plans include short-term health insurance, fixed indemnity plans, and healthcare sharing ministry plans. These types of plans do not have to abide by the ACA’s consumer protections and are exempt from federal regulations.

Of non-compliant plans, short-term health plans are probably the most commonly purchased, because they are generally much cheaper than ACA-compliant plans. They provide temporary coverage when you are not eligible for a major medical plan or are waiting for coverage to start. Unlike ACA-compliant health insurance plans, these plans can use your pre-existing conditions against you; short-term policies were created for healthier individuals who need some sort of emergency coverage for a short amount of time, so they only cover the basics. Therefore, people with pre-existing conditions, or who are in need of medical care should not consider a short-term health plan.

Looking For More Coverage?

ACA-compliant plans offer more coverage, and thanks to Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act, premium subsidies have been extended to more people, so everyone can save money on health insurance. Before you start doing the work of comparing plans on your own, come to EZ: we will make the process quicker and easier by comparing available plans in your area in minutes. Our licensed agents work with all the top-rated insurance companies in the nation and can go over your budget and needs, and find the best plan for you and your family. We compare plans and offer guidance at no cost to you. To get free instant quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak directly with an agent, call 888-350-1890.

Find Out If You Qualify For Health Insurance Subsidies With EZ

President Biden recently signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) into law, which expanded access to health insurance subsidies to more Americans. These expanded subsidies, which became available on April 1, 2021, are making premiums more affordable to millions of people, saving many hundreds of dollars a year. Eligibility, though, depends on your income, so you might be confused about whether you qualify. That’s where EZ can help! We can help you determine if you qualify for any subsidies, and if you don’t, we can still help you find an affordable health insurance plan.

different money bills rolled up
A subsidy is financial assistance that helps you pay for health insurance.

What Is A Subsidy?

In general, a subsidy is financial assistance that helps you pay for something – in this case, for your health insurance premiums. The subsidies now available to more people through the ARPA are known as Advanced Premium Tax Credits; these are basically tax credits that you can take in advance to lower your monthly health insurance payments. Subsidies available to you depend on your family size, how much health insurance costs where you live, and how your income compares to the Federal Poverty Level. 

The New Subsidies

The ARPA has extended Affordable Care Act (ACA) premium subsidies to higher-income people who did not previously qualify for them, and increased subsidies for lower-income people. The Biden administration estimates that an additional 3.6 million uninsured people are newly eligible for ACA subsidies under the ARPA, and that, on average, premiums will decrease about $50 a month, with some people paying $0 and some families saving as much as $1,000 a month! Because of the ARPA:

  • People whose income is above 400% of the Federal Poverty Level are now eligible for premium tax credits for the first time ever. They can access these premium tax credits if their premiums exceed 8.5% of their overall household income. 
  • Individuals whose income is between 100 and 400% the Federal Poverty Level will receive higher subsidies.

gold piggy bank with hundred dollar bills banded next to itSo, to know how much you can save on your premiums, you’ll need to know where you fall on the Federal Poverty Line. If you’re not sure, EZ will figure that out for you, and then let you know what kind of subsidies you can expect to receive –  you could save anywhere from $200 to $1,000 a month on premiums, and we’ll help you save more if possible. We will compare plans from different insurance companies to find a plan that meets your needs and saves you as much money as possible!

Working With An EZ Agent

We understand that you want to save money, especially in today’s economy. With the new ARPA, you might qualify for subsidies that you didn’t know were available to you, or you could even have been missing out on other savings or subsidies under the ACA. It can be confusing trying to figure out what you qualify for, but we can help you every step of the way. We will go over all your information and sift through plans to find the ones with the most savings- whether you qualify for subsidies or not. We work with the top-rated insurance companies in the country, and we are able to compare plans in minutes; not only that, but we offer our services for free! To get free instant quotes and guidance, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak to one of our local licensed agents, call 888-350-1890.

Biden’s Plan Making Health Insurance More Affordable for Millions of Americans

President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package, was signed into law on March 11, and Americans have already started receiving their stimulus checks. But that is not the only benefit Americans are going to receive from the American Rescue Plan Act. The law includes a provision to expand healthcare coverage and lower healthcare costs by boosting subsidies for Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans. The new lower-priced insurance plans will be accessible to Americans starting on April 1. 

The Cost of Insurance Is Too High For Many

The ACA has been going strong since 2010, providing access to quality health insurance for millions of Americans. However, many Americans earning over the income limit required to qualify for a subsidized plan are still finding health insurance too expensive, and have been opting out of purchasing plans.graph on a chalkboard with a red arrow going upward“There has been considerable discussion over the fact that while the ACA clearly increased affordability of and access to insurance coverage for millions of people, many people still find the premiums and out-of-pocket costs they face to be high and sometimes too burdensome,” says Linda Blumberg, a health economist at The Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit social and economic research organization. With the American Rescue Plan Act, the Biden Administration hopes to change all of this by making more people eligible for subsidies

The Subsidies Broken Down

Before this new law, you could only qualify for a subsidized health insurance plan if your modified adjusted gross income was between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level. For 2021, that’s between $12,760 (100% of the federal poverty level) and $51,040  (400% of the federal poverty level), for an individual. So before the American Rescue Plan Act, if you earned above those amounts, you would have to pay full price for a Marketplace health insurance plan.

But the American Rescue Plan Act allows those who earn over 400% of the federal poverty level to receive subsidies to purchase health insurance through the ACA Marketplace. It also requires that Americans pay no more than 8.5% of their income on health insurance premiums, and provides a larger tax credit to people who already receive financial assistance. 

Cheaper Premiums

money bills laying on top of each other
Biden’s new plan will reduce health insurance costs for millions of Americans, helping them save more.

The Biden administration estimates that ACA premiums will decrease by about $50 per month. One administration official emphasized that 4 out of 5 people enrolling “will be able to purchase a plan for $10 or less per month.” This could make a huge difference in the lives of the 14.9 million people who are currently not insured in the U.S.

With the new law:

  • An individual making $19,000 or less will not have to pay a monthly premium for health insurance. 
  • Couples who earn more than $70,000 together will save $1,000 per month on their health insurance monthly premiums. 
  • A family of 4 with an income of $90,000 will pay about $200 less in health insurance premiums. 

Anyone buying their own health insurance through the ACA Marketplace will be able to receive the tax credits beginning April 1. Comparing plans is the best way to find an affordable plan that provides the right level of coverage for you. Before you start doing the work of comparing on your own, come to EZ. We will make the process quicker and easier by comparing available plans in your area in minutes. Our licensed agents work with all the top-rated insurance companies in the nation and can go over your budget and needs, and find the best plan for you and your family. We compare plans and offer guidance at no cost to you. To get free quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak directly with an agent, call 888-350-1890.