November sparked the Marketplace Open Enrollment period for health insurance in the United States, and consumers can expect significant changes in 2022. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 has provided individuals with relief from health and economic ruin in the wake of COVID-19. It ensured that more Americans would have easier access to health insurance, and it gave money from tax cuts in the form of stimulus checks directly back to people. The stimulus checks allowed people to stay in their homes, pay bills, or buy food for their children.
What Does the American Care Plan Mean for Insurance in 2022?
Although much of the American Rescue Plan Act provided immediate relief to American citizens in the wake of the pandemic, it also enacted a bill to make insurance more affordable and available to those who need it. Now, insurance premiums are lower and open enrollment is longer, allowing more people to be able to sign up for insurance in 2022. The enhanced subsidies from the American Rescue Plan Act helped lead marketplace enrollments to a record high.
The American Rescue Plan Act states that it will “lower or eliminate health insurance premiums for millions of lower- and middle-income families enrolled in health insurance marketplaces.” On average, a benchmark plan premium will be about three percent lower than it would’ve been in 2021. A family of four making $90,000 a year could see their insurance premiums go down by $200 a month. This is a significant change that can allow people to be more comfortable and provide the ability to make ends meet with an additional $200 a month.
Thirty-two additional insurers will offer marketplace coverage. This means that even more insurers will have decreased premiums, allowing more people to be able to sign up. Consumers will now have a choice of nearly 83 qualified health plans in 2022. This is almost overwhelming, as, in 2021, they only had a choice of 46. This is also why additional assistance is available to help consumers choose the best plan for them. Healthcare.gov is also looking to streamline its processes and improve CMR, which will make it easier for consumers to find policies.
Low-Income Families Will Not Be Turned Away
People with lower incomes will now have more time to enroll in plans. Starting in 2022, healthcare.gov will allow open enrollment throughout the year for people with income up to 150% of the poverty level. This may not be a lasting change, as this subsidy enhancement has only been made available due to the American Care Plan. Still, consumers can be expected to be offered year-round enrollment if they meet the qualifications. By 2022, more than half of enrollees are expected to be able to find a $0 plan, and even more are expected to only spend around $50 on health insurance.
Out-Of-Pocket Costs Lowered
In 2022, marketplace subsidies will improve and reduce net premiums. Without such high premiums, this will make it possible for more people to sign up and be covered.
In 2020 and 2021, the out-of-pocket limit rose, leaving many people frustrated at the new difficulties of affording insurance or even losing their plans. Because of this, in 2022, the max out-of-pocket limit has been capped at $8,700 for a single person and $17,400 for a family.
The max out-of-pocket cost for a household in 2022 has been set at these levels:
- Single person’s income between 100 to 200% of the poverty level: $2,900
- Family whose income is between 100% and 200% of the poverty level: $5,800
- Single person’s whose income is above 200% but not more than 250% of the poverty level: $6,950
- Family whose income is 200% but not more than 250% of the poverty level: $13,900
The increase in available policies and drop in premiums is great news for consumers. More people will be available for affordable insurance, which will mean more will have better access to not only physical healthcare but mental health treatment.
In the wake of the pandemic, health insurance policies and the government have begun working together to make healthcare more affordable and accessible to every citizen of the country. With more marketplace providers, extended enrollment, and year-round enrollment for lower-income households, more individuals will have access to doctors, essential medications, and treatment for mental health disorders or substance use disorders. In 2022, there is no doubt the number of consumers finding affordable health care plans will increase. With this influx, behavioral health treatment centers may see an increase in clients as well.
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