DARKE COUNTY — Already, about 8.8 million Americans, and 174,448 Ohioans, who buy health insurance through HealthCare.gov receive tax credits that help make coverage more affordable. But about 12 million more Americans, including 343,600 Ohioans, may also be eligible for help during this Open Enrollment, but not know it. This group includes:
· Current HealthCare.gov consumers: 7,600 Ohio consumers who didn’t get tax credits last year could be eligible for tax credits in 2017, even if their income remains the same, because financial assistance moves along with rates. That’s 18 percent of currently unsubsidized Ohio Marketplace consumers.
· Off-Marketplace individual consumers: About 64,000 Ohioans who currently pay full price for individual coverage off-Marketplace could be eligible for tax credits if they purchase a 2017 plan through HealthCare.gov instead.
· The remaining uninsured: About 272,000 uninsured Ohioans earn incomes indicating they, too, could be eligible for financial assistance. Nationwide, 84 percent of Marketplace-eligible uninsured Americans have incomes suggesting they are tax credit eligible.
In Ohio, 47,535 people have already signed up for coverage in the first month of Open Enrollment, more than last year at this time. But many more Ohioans might benefit from visiting HealthCare.gov before the December 15th deadline for January 1 coverage and checking out their options for affordable, quality health insurance.
Affordable by design. The Marketplace’s tax credits are designed to keep pace with premium increases. This means that for many consumers already receiving tax credits, the value of that financial assistance will increase this year to keep pace with the cost of coverage in their area. It also means that more individuals may qualify for tax credits as premiums rise. For people eligible for financial assistance, the ACA specifies the share of income the consumer is expected to contribute toward health coverage. The tax credits make up the difference between that amount and the actual cost of a consumer’s benchmark (second-lowest-cost silver) plan.
For example, in 2017, a 27-year old in Ohio making $25,000 per year will pay $142 per month to purchase the benchmark plan, almost exactly the same as in 2016. That’s because the 27-year old will, on average, get an $84 tax credit – 6 percent higher than in 2016.
Check out your options. The Marketplace is open for business, and HHS is encouraging anyone who might need coverage next year to visit HealthCare.gov and check out their options before the December 15 deadline for coverage that starts January 1. Millions of Americans could be surprised to find out they’re eligible for financial assistance this year, even if they weren’t last year, giving them affordable, quality options to choose from. Visit HealthCare.gov to browse and shop for quality, affordable health plans. More than 51 percent of current Ohio Marketplace consumers will find plans for less than $75 per month, and the vast majority can save by coming back to actively shop instead of waiting to be re-enrolled in their current plan.