Have you heard of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021? This new law gives more financial help to people who buy their own health insurance. To get financial help, they must sign up through their state’s health insurance marketplace. Vermont’s health insurance marketplace is Vermont Health Connect.
Vermonters in single plans may now qualify for tax credits with incomes up to $105,771 in 2022. Vermonters in family plans may qualify with incomes up to $297,216 in 2022. Vermont Health Connect members can use their tax credit to make their monthly bills lower. Or they can get it when they file their federal taxes. It’s important to enroll in the marketplace soon to get the largest tax credit possible.
The marketplace’s Plan Comparison Tool has been updated. It can help Vermonters choose the best health plan for their financial and medical needs. Here’s what different categories of Vermonters can do:
|If this statement applies to you:||Here’s what you need to know:|
|I don’t have health insurance||
If you didn’t qualify for financial help in the past, it’s time to look again. Take a few minutes to look at the 2022 Plan Comparison Tool. See how much financial help you may get. Choose a plan that will best meet your needs.
Currently, we are outside of Open Enrollment. People who have experienced a qualifying event (such as marriage, divorce, birth or loss of current coverage) may be eligible for a special enrollment period (SEP). This is the only time you can sign up for new coverage or change coverage outside of the Open Enrollment Period. Customers who are eligible for VT Medicaid can enroll anytime throughout the year.
|I’m enrolled in a qualified health plan through Vermont Health Connect||
Many customers enrolled through Vermont Health Connect can get financial help. You can use it to make your monthly bills lower. Or you can get it when you file your taxes. To get it when you file taxes, you don’t need to do anything now. Want to use it to lower your monthly bills? Login to your account or call us at 1-855-899-9600.
|I get health insurance directly from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont or MVP Health Care||Read our instructions for transferring your health plan into the marketplace. The sooner you transfer your plan, the more tax credits you will get! Eligible direct enrolled customers can transfer to Vermont Health Connect anytime. See details for yourself in the Plan Comparison Tool.|
|I have job-based insurance||You probably can’t get financial help to buy a marketplace plan. To get financial help, you must prove your job-based insurance is not adequate or affordable. Learn more from our Affordability Estimator.|
|I have government-sponsored insurance (Medicaid, Medicare, TRICARE, VA, Peace Corps)||If you have Minimum Essential Coverage, you can’t get financial help to buy marketplace plans. Medicare Part A, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, TRICARE, VA Health Care Programs, and Peace Corps Health Plans meet the definition of Minimum Essential Coverage.|
|I want to help spread the word about these new lower costs||Our Communications Toolkit has videos, social media posts, flyers, and sample articles that can help more Vermonters learn how to save money on health insurance.|
LOWER BILLS FOR VERMONT HEALTH CONNECT MEMBERS IN 2022
I’ve been told in past years I make too much money to get financial help from Vermont Health Connect. Does the American Rescue Plan change that?
Yes. Before the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the Affordable Care Act lowered premiums for people with incomes up to 400% of Federal Poverty Level (FPL)—or about $51,520 per year for a single person in 2022. Having a higher income meant you didn’t qualify for financial help from Vermont Health Connect. The new American Rescue Plan protects everyone who has to buy insurance on their own. All eligible people can find health plans that cost less than 8.5% of their income on health insurance premiums. See details for yourself in the Plan Comparison Tool.
I can get health insurance through a job, but it’s expensive. Can I get financial help under the new rules?
Maybe. Financial help is not available to people who have an offer of job-based insurance unless you can prove it is not affordable by federal standards. Use our affordability worksheet to find out if your job-based insurance is affordable.
If I enroll, how long will my monthly premium bill stay this low?
The new rules for financial help under the American Rescue Plan continue throughout 2022 unless Congress extends or makes them permanent.
What if my income changes?
Vermont Health Connect’s financial help is based on your income and household size. If your income goes down, you may get more financial help to lower your monthly premium bill. If your income goes up, your financial help may go down. Under the American Rescue Plan, all eligible people can find health plans that cost less than 8.5% of their income. Login to your account or call us at 1-855-899-9600 to report any income changes.
Do I have to enroll in a specific plan?
No. You can enroll in any qualified health plan in the marketplace – bronze, silver, gold, or platinum. You can apply premium tax credits to the plan of your choice. Want to know which plan will best meet your needs? Visit the Plan Comparison Tool.
I don’t have health insurance. Can I sign up for Vermont Health Connect and get financial help?
Maybe. Currently, we are outside of Open Enrollment. People who have experienced a qualifying event (such as marriage, divorce, birth or loss of current coverage) may be eligible for a special enrollment period (SEP). This is the only time you can sign up for new coverage or change coverage outside of the Open Enrollment Period. Customers can apply for VT Medicaid anytime in the year if you believe you are eligible, To see how much financial help you might get, visit the Plan Comparison Tool.
I qualify for financial help, but I chose to pay my full monthly premium instead. Can I claim the premium tax credit when I file my taxes?
Yes. Enrollees through Vermont Health Connect can choose to wait to claim their premium tax credits. If you do that, you won’t get financial help each month to lower your monthly premium bill. You will get a credit on your federal tax return. You can change your decision at any time. To do so, login to your account or call us at 1-855-899-9600.