In order to support a permanent extension of tax credits under the Affordable Care Act, the American Hospital Association has drafted a letter to congressional leaders along with the five other national organizations that include the American Medical Association, AHIP, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Federation of American Hospitals and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
The six national organizations also agreed on immediate improvements in the healthcare system, ensuring that all Americans have access to high-quality, affordable healthcare coverage.
"Achieving universal coverage is particularly critical as we continue managing the COVID-19 pandemic and work to address long-standing inequities in healthcare access and disparities in health outcomes," according to the letter.
Many Americans purchased ACA plans on the federal and state-based marketplaces during the pandemic. This, in turn, encouraged Congress to pass the American Rescue Plan (ARP), which comprised provisions to make ACA plans more accessible and affordable for the Americans.
Particularly, the letter described the influence of state and federal laws, regulations, guidance, and policies on choice and competition in health care markets. Furthermore, it also said that the ARP expanded access to the advanced premium tax credits of ACA by ensuring that no Americans will spend more than 8.5% of their income on health insurance premiums. This in turn made the credits more affordable and generous for lower-income families.
A recent survey from the Department of Health and Human Services revealed that families were made eligible for a $0 premium benchmark silver plan who come in between 100%-150% of the federal poverty level (FPL).
During the 2022 open-enrollment period, a total of more than 14.5 million Americans accessed these expanded tax credits by enrolling in marketplace coverage. Out of the 14.5 million Americans, 3 million were new consumers and 3.2 million picked a monthly premium plan of $10 or less.
However, the ARP's expanded tax credits are slated to expire on December 31.
The signees wrote in the letter, "If Congress allows this deadline to pass, the lowest-income enrollees could see their premiums increase from less than $1 per month to $26 per month (2,500%) while the highest income enrollees could see their premiums increase from $425 to $577 (36%), and enrollees with income above 400% FPL will no longer qualify for tax credits at all."
This would cause coverage to become unaffordable, forcing people to drop marketplace coverage while remaining uninsured- as reported by the organizations.
Thus, the group said the call for Congress to make the tax credits permanent would result in much greater stability- both for the patients and for those who provide and pay for healthcare services.
The letter read, "Our country continues to work through the economic and public health implications of COVID over the past two years, including rising inflation, which is forcing families to pay more at the grocery store and the gas pump." "We cannot add to these burdens by putting the healthcare of 14.5 million current marketplace enrollees, and millions of potential future enrollees at risk."
Close to 6 million new consumers signed up for healthcare coverage through the federal marketplace during the first 12 months of President Joe Biden's administration. As per the data published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in March, all the sign-up processes were made during the open- and special enrollment periods.
As per the data revealed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the agency said in 2022, 2.8 million more consumers are receiving tax credits as compared to 2021. For this, the agency has credited the enrollment growth, in part, to investments made through the American Rescue Plan (ARP).
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