Since the marketplaces officially opened in 2013, healthcare officials have expended a lot of energy promoting the advance premium tax credits available to consumers with limited income. Their efforts have paid off. According to a report issued by the Health and Human Services Department, about 87 percent of the people who signed up for health insurance in 2015 qualified for subsidies. The report also notes that these subsidies are worth approximately $1 billion in savings per month for the people who use them.
The number of people using subsidies to offset the cost of insurance jumped 7 percent compared with the same period last year. Owing to increased advertising efforts and realization that tax penalties would be assessed against those without insurance, more people in general have enrolled this year than they did during the 2013-2014 season. This year, the IRS will assess a penalty against anyone who failed to sign up for health insurance in 2014. The penalty is negligible for some people, but fees will continue to increase each year and may become prohibitive in some cases.
Healthcare experts assert that advance premium tax credits are one of the major reasons to sign up for health insurance using the exchanges. These subsidies allow people with limited incomes to enroll in a policy they may not otherwise be able to afford. Available to consumers who earn between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty limit, advance premium tax credits can be applied partially or wholly to any marketplace plan. If consumers choose to reserve some of these funds, they’ll get the difference back when they file their annual taxes. On the federal exchange, enrollees who take advantage of subsidies to reduce their monthly premiums pay an average of $105 per month for insurance.
It’s important to note that private companies may offer better rates to consumers who don’t qualify for the subsidies. Since tax credits are only available to those who meet the income parameters, some consumers may fare better off of the exchange sites. There are also more choices beyond the government-run websites. Still, the increased number of marketplace participants indicates that the Affordable Care Act is accomplishing its mission to provide affordable health insurance options to the masses.
The most recent enrollment period ended on Feb. 15, and consumers without health insurance may face penalty fines next year. Government officials have opened up an extended sign-up period for certain people that runs until April 30. For Latio enrollment go here – Para la inscripción latina comenzar aquí.