Health insurance

NJ and Pa. See strong interest in ACA health insurance plans

New Jersey and Pennsylvania see sharp surges in health insurance enrollments in their Affordable Care Act markets, as consumers enjoy second year of increased subsidies under a federal law designed to help the US economy through the coronavirus pandemic.

In New Jersey, registrations for the 2022 plans were up 27% through December 5, compared to the same time last year. The total number of registrations in the state was 286,955, up from 226,727 last year, during the current open registration period starting November 1.

The increase is smaller in Pennsylvania, but remains a solid 12%, at 357,312, through Dec. 15, when plan registrations ended Jan. 1, 2022. The comparable figure a year ago was from 319,747. Until Jan. 15, Pennsylvania consumers can still sign up on for plans that begin in February.

Residents of New Jersey have until December 31 to purchase coverage starting January 1 and until the end of January for coverage starting in February. Consumers can register on GetCoveredNJ. Nine in ten will receive a grant, state officials said.

“We are delighted that residents are taking advantage of the significant financial assistance that is now available in New Jersey as a result of federal and state steps taken to reduce the cost of affordable and quality health insurance,” said the Commissioner of the NJ Banking and Insurance Department, Marlene Caride. in a report.

The grants were increased by the American Rescue Plan Act in April.

Before the changes, grants were only available to people earning less than 400% of the federal poverty line, or about $ 51,000 for an individual.

Under the new law for 2021 and 2022, payments to consumers will be limited to 8.5% of their income, increasing the subsidies they can receive.

In another example, a family of four with an annual income of $ 39,750 could have paid up to $ 137 per month for insurance this year, or $ 1,644 per year, under the old rules.

The new law brought their premium down to zero.

Data from Pennsylvania shows some consumers are using increased subsidies to upgrade to better plans.

The percentage of consumers choosing “Gold” plans, which cost more but cover more and have lower deductibles and other personal expenses, rose to 34% this year, from 26% last year.

Nationally, a record 13.6 million people have purchased health coverage through Dec. 15 in state and federal ACA markets, the Biden administration said on Wednesday. . The previous record was 12.7 million in 2016, according to Kaiser Health News.

The main reason for the increases is new premium discounts, Kaiser reported. Some people may also have lost employment-based coverage during the pandemic and need to purchase insurance on their own.