EDITORIAL: Health care fix on ACA rules helps families
Free Press (Mankato, MN)
Dec. 2—While the boost to creating more affordable health care through the Inflation Reduction Act may have received less attention than other programs, some 62,000 Minnesotans could benefit with lower health insurance premiums through a provision in the IRA.
That's the estimate by the Kaiser Family Foundation of how many more people would qualify for buying health insurance through MNsure with the help of federal tax credits. MNsure is the state's version of the ACA marketplace where independent contractors, self-employed workers, farmers and workers who don't have "affordable" insurance through their employers can buy insurance with the help of government tax credits.
But up until changes were made to the program via the IRA, many families did not qualify for tax credits because the rules only considered the need to cover a single person when determining eligibility. The rule involved measuring whether person applying for tax credits had "affordable" insurance through their employer. But affordability was determined on health insurance rates that only covered a single person, not a family.
The new rules now allow for making the "affordable" determination using the cost of buying health insurance for an entire family, often much higher than covering a single individual.
The IRA also increased subsidies and removed the income cap. MNsure estimated those who buy health insurance through MNsure will save $560 a month this year. The group also provides free advice through a network of 18 MNsure-certified navigators across the state.
The group noted that families who have applied in the past should apply again under the new rules because they may be eligible for tax credits where they were not in the past.
The deadline to sign up for insurance through MNsure — the only place where the tax credits are available — is Dec. 15 for coverage starting Jan. 1.
We encourage farmers, self-employed and gig workers to check on the new rules as they may be eligible where they were not in the past. There are 18 navigators or brokers in the Mankato area to assist people with coverage.
Consumers can go to MNsure.org and search the Assister Directory to find contact information for local assisters and other information about eligibility.
Tax credit increases last year through the American Rescue Plan helped boost the number of people buying insurance through MNsure by 10% to 134,527. That number could be close to 200,000 this year.
We have long supported MNsure and the Affordable Care Act. These programs help Minnesotans and other buy affordable health insurance to keep them and their families for having to choose between health care and groceries.
And despite its longtime critics, the MNsure program appears to be working very well for Minnesotans of all political persuasions.
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