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HHS to Spend $50 Million Promoting Special Enrollment Period

Health and Human Services announced an additional $50 million in advertising to enhance the Special Enrollment Period outreach campaign slated to run through April 15, 2021.

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April 1, 2021 –  Xavier Becerra, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced an additional $50 million in advertising to enhance the Special Enrollment Period outreach campaign. The campaign is slated to run through April 15, 2021.

HHS Secretary Becerra noted that, “We’re delivering lower health care costs to more Americans because everyone deserves access to quality, affordable health care. Today help is here and millions of Americans can start saving money on their health insurance premiums thanks to the American Rescue Plan.”

In addition to the $50 million, the HSS also announced additional savings and lower health care costs for consumers via HealthCare.gov. The recently passed American Rescue Plan (ARP) increases tax credits for consumers, which will help to reduce premiums and increase the affordability of health care coverage to Americans struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic.

These premium tax credit calculations for the HealthCare.gov Marketplace are adjusted to allow more consumers to qualify for advance payments of the credits. Many Americas using the Marketplaces will see premiums lowered by an average of $50 per person per month or $85 per policy per month. An average of 80% of consumers on the Marketplaces will be able to utilize a plan that costs less than $10 per month under the American Rescue Plan. With the advance payments of premium tax credits, nearly 60% of eligible uninsured adults may be able to access a zero-premium plan, while 75% may have access to a plan that costs less than $50 per month via HealthCare.gov.

CMS Education Initiatives

In conjunction with the HSS announcement, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched an additional education initiative of their own. The goal of the new campaign is to raise awareness amongst the uninsured population about these new savings and the advanced premium tax credits that make these plans more affordable.

“The Biden Administration is committed to bringing down health care costs for families. Consumers can save money by visiting HealthCare.gov and choosing a plan that works for them and their budget. HHS will be reaching out to encourage Americans to use the Special Enrollment Period to sign up for quality, affordable coverage through HealthCare.gov,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.

Those currently enrolled can review their application, update their information, submit the application, and either select a new plan or reselect their current plan to receive the enhanced advanced payments. Those who take action in April will start receiving savings and lower costs starting on May 1, 2021. CMS is also working with these enrollees to encourage them to update their information to gain access to expanded financial assistance.

Plans and Prices

To see if they qualify for more affordable premiums, consumers can visit www.HealthCare.gov or www.CuidadoDeSalud.gov to view 2021 plans and prices. There, if eligible, they can enroll in a health care plan that meets their needs. Consumers without access to the internet can also call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 for assistance in over 150 languages.

The $50 million in funding to promote the Special Enrollment Period and the enhanced tax credits are a great step towards helping consumers obtain insurance coverages from the Marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act. Not only will more uninsured consumers be able to access these affordable plans, but they will also be able to do it at reduced costs, which helps improve health outcomes of millions of Americans.

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The VBP Blog is a comprehensive resource for all things related to value-based payments. Up-to-date news, informative webinars, and relevant blogs in the VBP sphere to help your organization find success.