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Avera Medical Minute: Open Enrollment and the American Rescue Plan Act brings more health plan options for South Dakotans

Published: Mar. 18, 2021 at 11:28 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Finding a health plan may be more affordable than ever. The $1.9 Trillion dollar American Rescue Plan Act is subsidizing many more applicants than in previous years. Jordan Anderson, Vice President of sales at Avera Health Plans answers our questions.

Q: Last month a special open enrollment period was announced for people looking to get insurance, what does the American Rescue Plan Act add to this special period?

A: President Biden signed an executive order back in January to open up a special enrollment period from February 15th to May 15th which is allowing individuals and families to have the opportunity to enroll in the ACA insurance marketplace. Just a reminder that this special enrollment period really only applies to those individuals that do not have qualified employer health plans available to them, or they’re not on government programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

Q: How could this plan impact applicants financially?

A: It’s actually adding additional tax subsidies for a larger percentage of the population, because of the reduced thresholds to get those premium assistance dollars. So, overall, what we’re seeing is it really is going to make healthcare coverage, extremely affordable to a majority of South Dakotans.

Q: Are there more people now eligible during this open enrollment period and how many people are we talking about?

A: So, according to a study done by the US Department of Health and Human Services, there is a subset of our population roughly 20,000 uninsured individuals in South Dakota, that are going to be either eligible for a $0 premium benchmark plan which is a silver plan one the individual marketplace or will be newly eligible for tax credits, underneath the American rescue plan.

Q: What segments of the population will be impacted the most?

A: You will actually find a large number of high earners in the state of South Dakota are going to qualify for those tax credits, so the demographic that we see that’s really going to benefit this benefit the most under the American rescue plan act is going to be the older and the rural populations of South Dakota.

Q; Why is it important to talk to an expert about the options in the marketplace, rather than searching on our own?

A: Many of the plans in the Marketplace may look very similar at a high level, but an agent’s going to be able to kind of peel back the layers of the onion and find solutions and find the plans that really meet your individual needs. And just as a reminder, using an agent does not impact how much you pay for coverage on the marketplace. So really it’s a no-brainer to work with an expert.

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