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Provision in federal COVID-19 aid means higher tax credits on ACA exchange
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Provision in federal COVID-19 aid means higher tax credits on ACA exchange

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Starting Thursday, Montanans who buy their health insurance on the federal marketplace will be able to get increased tax credits to reduce the cost of their premiums.

The change is a provision of the American Rescue Plan Act, passed by Congress in March.

The change covers those earning up to 400% of federal poverty level, meaning it will touch even higher income earners. An estimate by the Congressional Budget Office shows the change will increase coverage nationwide by about 1.7 million.

An estimated 80% of Montanans who get coverage on the exchange already qualified for credits that reduced their premiums before the changes under ARPA.

The new rules cover those who already have insurance purchased on the exchange or those who are uninsured and buy coverage. Another provision means those without health care insurance and who received unemployment payments in 2021 will have access to free or reduced-cost plans.

Montanans have until Aug. 15 to enroll.

“Thousands of residents have gained health coverage since the rollout of the ACA back in 2013, but we know that coverage was still out of reach for a lot of families. These expanded subsidies will make coverage more affordable right away for almost everyone who wants Marketplace insurance," said Jeremy Smith, program director for MT Navigator, a nonprofit enrollment assistance group.

A press release from MT Navigator estimates premiums will drop about $50 a person each month or by $85 for a policy per month. Plans generally will cost about $10 or less a month after the tax credits for about 4 in 5 enrollees, the organization said.

Anyone who needs help getting coverage can call 406-430-0005 for free help. Information is also available at www.acanavigator.com.

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