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Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is pushing for Congress to extend the Affordable Care Act tax subsidies made possible by US bailout funds.
The grants are due to expire at the end of 2022.
In a Colorado press call on Wednesday, Brooks-LaSure, along with other health leaders, said the tax subsidies have empowered people who otherwise couldn’t afford health benefits, d get coverage.
If tax subsidies were to end, Brooks-LaSure said, premium spending would increase 47% for Coloradans.
“The bottom line is that the US bailout reduces health insurance costs,” she said.
CMS cannot expand grants without congressional action, she said.
“Time is running out,” Brooks-LaSure said. “It really is now.”
On Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced approval of a Colorado state innovation waiver request for the “Colorado Option,” a state-specific health coverage plan. aimed at making insurance more affordable for nearly 10,000 Coloradons starting in 2023. It’s also expected to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities, HHS said.
The Section 1332 waiver would reduce premiums for individuals, families and small businesses by up to 15% by 2025, HHS said. In conjunction with the existing 1332 waiver for a state-based reinsurance program, the option is expected to reduce premiums by about $132 per person per month on average.
The Colorado option covers all essential health benefits required by the ACA, including primary care, behavioral health, and prenatal visits, at no cost.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
Reducing the uninsured rate helps hospitals and providers mitigate the risk of unpaid care.
According to Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
If the subsidies expire at the end of the year, about 3 million Americans will lose their health insurance and 10 million will benefit from reduced premium tax credits, according to Kevin Patterson, CEO of Connect for Health Colorado.
If the subsidies end, people who cannot afford to cover themselves will lose their coverage, he said.
THE GREAT TREND
According to the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, the end of the premium tax subsidies would result in the loss of coverage and the uninsurance of approximately 15% of those currently insured in the ACA market. Office of Health Policy.
Subsidy cuts would average $406 per person, per year for about 8.9 million people. An estimated 1.5 million people would lose all subsidies at a cost of $3,277 per person per year.
The hardest hit states are California, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas.
The U.S. bailout increased access to zero-premium plans on HealthCare.gov from 43 to 62 percent of uninsured adults, according to the Office of Health Policy report. Access to low-cost plans under $50 per month for premiums increased from 57% to 73%.
The U.S. bailout lowered the percentage of income consumers had to contribute to premiums for those between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level and extended premium tax credits to households above 400% of FPL.
Due to these changes, registration with the ACA hit a record high of 14.5 million people by the end of the 2022 open registration period.
Email the author: SMorse@himss.org