New ACA subsidies go into effect as HHS announces $50M boost to outreach funding

Major boosts to tax subsidies are now available for consumers shopping for coverage on, and the federal government is adding $50 million for outreach.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the availability of the lower subsidies, which were passed as part of the American Rescue Plan Act, on Thursday. HHS also announced an additional $50 million for outreach for the latest special enrollment period that ends Aug. 15.

“The Biden administration is committed to bringing down healthcare costs for families,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “Consumers can save money by visiting and choosing a plan that works for them and their budget.”

The enhanced subsidies only last through the 2021 and 2022 plan years.

“Many Americans on the marketplaces will see their premiums decrease, on average, by $50 per person per month and $85 per policy per month,” HHS said in a release.

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HHS also found that after advance payments of premium tax credits, an average of three out of five uninsured adults eligible for coverage can access a zero-premium plan.

Nearly three out of four could find a plan for $50 or less a month as well on the exchanges.

Any current enrollees need to review their plans and submit a plan or re-select their current plan to get the increased tax credits.

“Consumers who take action in April and confirm updated savings on the plan of their choice will start receiving the savings and lower costs starting with their May 1 premiums,” the agency added.

Tax credits also for the first time will be available for those making 400% of the federal poverty level, which previously was the cutoff for getting tax credits.

The law ensures anyone making 400% above the level won’t have to pay more than 8.5% of their income on healthcare.