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Need health insurance? Federal enrollment plans with biggest subsidies ever slated to close soon

Tens of thousands of Louisianans who buy health insurance from the federal marketplace could save up to hundreds of dollars on plans and low-income residents will pay nothing for healthcare benefits under a major subsidy program which enrollment for ends soon. 

Those who buy health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as “Obamacare”, have until August 15 to sign up for health insurance. 

The initial deadline was May 15. 

The subsidies are in effect for both new and existing health care plans. About 24% of new and existing customers across Louisiana were offered health insurance coverage for $10 or less in monthly premiums, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The average Louisiana resident is saving $67 each month, or $804 each year, on health insurance premiums, according to CMS data. 

Self-employed people who buy their own insurance and don’t currently get federal help could be eligible for subsidies. Many individuals who didn’t previously qualify for subsidies on the HealthCare.gov exchange are small business owners. The program benefits laid-off workers struggling to retain employer coverage, and most anyone collecting unemployment.

The funding for the expanded health care coverage stems from the $1.9 trillion federal relief package approved by Congress during the Joe Biden Administration known as the American Rescue Plan. 

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There were 70,758 policyholders in Louisiana already getting premium tax credits in 2020. 

The new temporary premium tax credits — put into effect for the next two years, retroactive to Jan. 1 — would ensure that no individuals buying federal marketplace health insurance would spend more than 8.5% of their income on premiums — meaning some policyholders will qualify for a health care subsidy for the first time since Obamacare began. Subsidies have been expanded to those earning more than 400% of the federal poverty level, lifting income levels to $51,520 for an individual and $106,000 for a family of four, whose payments exceed the 8.5% of income cap.

A hypothetical 45-year-old making $58,000 previously got no aid under the Affordable Care Act. With the new bill, they’d be entitled to a $1,250 tax credit, or 20% off their premiums, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

A family of four with total household income of $39,000 would also pay no premiums after subsidies are applied. Meanwhile, a family of four with household income of $120,000 would pay $850 each month instead of $1,743.

There were 84,902 individuals across Louisiana enrolled in Obamacare health plans as of early March. During the special enrollment period so far, 12,647 Louisiana residents have signed up for plans, 6,931 more individuals who enrolled during the same time frame last year.

Go to HealthCare.gov for more information or call at 1-800-318-2596. 

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