SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Right now roughly 10% of South Dakotans do not have health insurance. A provision in the American Rescue Plan, the latest COVID relief aid package, aims to make health care more affordable for more Americans on the federal healthcare marketplace.
“This is the first time that they’ve adjusted the amounts or the income level so that more people qualify just to make sure they have access to affordable health insurance,” Janice Lewis with Avera Health Plans said.
There are 29,331 people in South Dakota who currently get their health insurance through the federal healthcare marketplace. Lewis says the new expansion could mean another 10,000 people in the state will now qualify.
Right now federal officials are still determining the exact income guidelines for who will qualify, but the new plan will ensure no one pays more than 8.5% of their household income on a health plan; it was previously at 9.83%.
“They are saying on average, a person may receive an additional 50 dollars per month,” Lewis said.
Those already getting insurance through healthcare.gov can re-apply from April 1st to May 15th to start paying the lower rate.
“If they’re on there, they’re going to have a savings,” Lewis said. “If they’re not on there because they’ve not met the amount or fallen just outside of it, now would be a great time to go back and check.”
The American Rescue Plan hopes to help more Americans qualify for an affordable health plan in the marketplace, especially those who may not have health insurance right now.
“The group of people that maybe make too much money to qualify for the federal marketplace but yet the premiums on their health insurance are more than they can afford are exactly the people that this has been created for,” Lewis said. “People who have a job, have income and don’t have access to health insurance through their job.”
If you’re uninsured, April 1st through May 15th is the time to check out healthcare.gov.
“They may qualify now for plans that you could get for a zero-monthly premium, which would be fantastic for a lot of people, so it is worth going out to check if you are currently not covered,” Lewis said.
If you’re already enrolled and don’t re-apply between April 1st and May 15th but still qualify for increased tax credits, you will get that money back with your tax returns. Applying next month will just help lower your monthly expenses.