Our Turn: American Rescue Plan provisions lower cost of health insurance for NH people

Published: 6/13/2021 9:30:11 AM

The COVID-19 pandemic shone a light on just how important it is that all Granite Staters have meaningful access to quality health care. Key to this access is affordable health insurance. Many people have faced new physical and mental health challenges amid the pandemic, and health insurance has connected them with the resources and care that they need to improve their lives.

As we emerge from the health and economic crisis caused by the pandemic, we need to continue making progress toward the goal of affordable health coverage for every American. And we are glad to report that the recently passed American Rescue Plan includes provisions that move us closer to that aim. These provisions are lowering the cost of health insurance for people in New Hampshire and across the country – making the biggest improvement to the Affordable Care Act in more than a decade.

Granite Staters can take advantage of these new cost savings now.

The American Rescue Plan expands and enhances tax credits to lower health insurance premiums for millions of people who buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces in 2021 and 2022. As a result of this law, more people than ever qualify for assistance to help pay for health insurance, and people already enrolled in a Marketplace plan may be eligible for new savings. We have long supported these provisions in the Senate by advocating for the Improving Health Insurance Affordability Act, a standalone bill to expand and enhance the ACA’s premium tax credits.

These new tax credits will lower many Granite Staters’ premiums by thousands of dollars each year.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in New Hampshire, a family of four making $85,000 per year could save $228 per month on premiums thanks to the American Rescue Plan’s tax credit enhancements. A retired couple in New Hampshire, both age 60, with $70,000 in annual income could save $918 per month on premiums.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, four-out-of-five Americans enrolling in coverage can find a plan with premiums of $10 or less per month using tax credits from the American Rescue Plan.

Granite Staters have until August 15 to sign up for a Marketplace plan or to change their current plan, and they can do so by visiting healthcare.gov.

Since President Biden began a special open enrollment period in February, more than one million additional Americans have signed up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act. This is welcome news, and we should continue to build on that progress.

One way to do that is for more people who do not have insurance coverage to take advantage of these new savings provided by the American Rescue Plan. For those who are not covered, enrolling will provide the peace of mind that comes with high-quality health insurance. And for existing enrollees, it pays to shop around – by doing so, you may be able to find a plan that is lower cost than what you are currently paying.

In addition to lowering health insurance costs, the American Rescue Plan also ensures that employees can retain their employer-sponsored health insurance if they are laid off or face a reduction in hours. These individuals could typically expect to pay for the full cost of their health plan, but the American Rescue Plan covers the entire cost through September 30.

The American Rescue Plan is connecting more Americans with affordable, quality health care, and it is helping improve our health care system. We will continue working with our colleagues in Congress to strengthen these efforts and expand affordable health care coverage to more Granite Staters. Our health, and our economy, depend on it.

(Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen are U.S. senators.)




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