ARPA expiration would end health insurance subsidies for many residents

The expiration date of federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act this year may affect the cost of health insurance for many local residents.

“ARPA financial assistance virtually eliminates or greatly reduces monthly payments and premiums for many low- and moderate-income individuals who enroll through Access Health CT in the form of advanced premium tax credits,” said Caroline Lee Ruwet , director of marketing for Access Health. CONNECTICUT.

ARPA funds are made possible through the federal government, and under those funds Connecticut residents are eligible to receive “an additional $11 million per month or $132 million for the 2022 plan year to help ensure health care coverage remains affordable.” affordable,” he explained. Ruwet pointed out that advance premium tax credits are not discounts, since the amount of the premium is the same, but there are larger subsidies that provide consumers with monthly savings on premiums.

For example, a family of four with an annual income of $107,000 a year paid $3,323 a month in premiums before ARPA. Now the same family pays $8 a month, which represents a monthly savings of $3,315. “ARPA has helped cover more people and also have higher levels of coverage,” she said.

According to Ruwet, more than 65,000 Connecticut residents are receiving additional financial help for their insurance coverage through ARPA, more than 2,500 Access Health CT clients in the Meriden-Wallingford area.

Low-Income and Vulnerable Communities

Community Health Center Inc. director of access to care, Marie Yardis, explained that the organization primarily serves low-income and vulnerable communities, and understands that “it’s not easy for individuals and families to find a plan they can afford. and meet your needs.”

“Unfortunately, patients often choose to forgo purchasing health insurance coverage, seeing it as an additional expense that is not justified,” Yardis said.

He noted that while ARPA funding was helpful to some, Community Health Center did not see a significant increase in enrollment among its patients.

Yardis said that while most patients at Community Health Center are eligible for Medicaid, the center recognizes the importance of providing information to patients that fully encompasses what may be available to them. “We actively spread the word about the importance of having health insurance, how to connect to resources and where to apply,” Yardis said.

local voices

State Rep. Hilda Santiago, a Meriden Democrat, favors an extension. “I think at some point we should continue to help people with health insurance because it’s so expensive,” she said. “The premiums are high and the subsidies, the discounts that people are getting are really helpful in maintaining health care.”

He said that working families need ARPA funds; people who are feeling the effects of inflation and need more help related to child care and mental health. Santiago explained that the pandemic has impacted the mental health of young children, youth and parents who have had to stay home for the past two years. “That’s something we’re still making sure the money is used for.”

Santiago said they also advocate for funding after school programs, “an extension of what helps kids recover from mental health” and workforce development.

State Rep. Vincent Candelora, R-Durham, Guilford, North Branford and Wallingford, said analysis is needed to ensure accessibility and affordability of health care is met.

“As we start saving federal money, we have to make sure there are appropriate income threshold levels for people who need those kinds of subsidized benefits,” he said.

However, he explained that when he learned about health care affordability subsidies, he worried that people would get used to paying a low price and then have to pay a high price again. Removing the funds could be “disruptive” for many households, she said.

“We’re going to have to re-examine how that program works and to what extent states can afford to subsidize those programs,” Candelora added.

ksantos@record-journal.com203-317-2364Twitter: @KarlaSantosNews

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