ATLANTIC — With additional federal premium tax credits available for those purchasing their own health insurance directly through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) marketplace, for those individuals, it may be time to check online or with an agent to see if their premium amount has decreased.

Donnie Drennan, of Drennan Insurance in Atlantic, said he’d sat in on a webinar recently, talking about the changes in the marketplace. “They are saying everyone (who has marketplace insurance) should check it, it could be advantageous to them,” he said.

He said he would recommend individuals who have marketplace insurance coverage should talk to their agent to see if there were changes that could benefit them.

One thing to remember, he said, was that “if (individuals) change plans, and had met any deductibles on their previous plan, they may lose those deductibles,” moving to a new plan. On the other hand, some may find that they can stay with their current policy, and still lower their premium, Drennan said.

The centers for Meidcare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the changes recently. New consumers and current enrollees who submit an application and select a plan on or after April 1 will receive the increased federal premium tax credits for 2021 and 2022 marketplace coverage. By using tax credits, individuals purchasing their own health insurance directly through healthcare.gov can further reduce their premium costs towards the purchase of a health care plan.

“Iowans who have already purchased their own coverage through the marketplace are encouraged to update their information on healthcare.gov on or after April 1 to recalculate their costs based upon the increased federal premium tax credits,” Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen said. “These changes, coupled with the special enrollment period that runs through August 15, will make these insurance plans more affordable as Iowans recover economically from the pandemic.

“As a result of the economic impact of the pandemic, Medicaid has been there as a safety net. During 2020, Iowa’s Medicaid participation grew by roughly 80,000 individuals. But as we come out of the pandemic, we know Iowans want the opportunity to resume family supporting economic growth. These premium tax credits may help some Iowans to afford health coverage as they economically recover from the pandemic and their incomes move them above eligibility for Medicaid. Iowans considering individual plans should talk with a licensed insurance agent to thoroughly research all coverage options to determine the best plan for themselves and their families.

During the special enrollment period that began February 15 and runs through August 15, Iowans may call 1-800-318-2596 or visit healthcare.gov for information regarding enrollment and to calculate applicable tax credits.

Local insurance agents, assisters and navigators are available to help Iowans review which insurance plan may best fit their needs. Iowans can find local help by visiting https://localhelp.HealthCare.gov/.

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