On May 5, this article was updated to reflect recent changes made to The American Rescue Plan.
The American Rescue Plan, signed into law March 11, temporarily expands subsidies under the Affordable Care Act for people purchasing their own insurance. This change increases subsidies for people already eligible and offers new subsidies for higher-earners who previously did not qualify. Premiums for insurance purchased through the government exchange will cost no more than 8.5 percent of an individual’s income.
These changes, which will be available through 2022, come as the federal health insurance marketplace and most state exchanges are open for a Special Enrollment Period through August 15, 2021 (previously May 15) due to the pandemic.
Depending upon a bookseller’s age, location, and income, the expanded subsidies may result in a considerable decrease in monthly premiums for health insurance. According to the New York Times, individuals earning approximately $19,000 a year may now be eligible for no monthly premiums and individuals earning over $51,000 may see monthly premiums decrease by as much as $1,000.
The American Rescue Plan’s subsidy changes are retroactive to January 1, 2021. In other words, if booksellers already purchased a plan through the federal exchange or a state exchange, they will receive a refund reflecting the new changes. Individuals purchasing new insurance plans on the exchange may not see the new subsidies reflected immediately, but they will also receive a refund once the changes are implemented.
Use this calculator from the Kaiser Family Foundation to estimate your health insurance premiums (updated with subsidy changes from the American Rescue Plan).
Booksellers are encouraged to contact the American Booksellers Association’s health insurance partner LIG Solutions to access health insurance options usually limited to General Open Enrollment, which ended in mid December. Through the Special Enrollment Period, booksellers can add, drop, or make changes to their health insurance coverage to minimize cost or maximize coverage.
*Note: Available plans can vary by state and state healthcare regulations. If you are a bookseller, please communicate with your manager before purchasing a policy through LIG Solutions as your bookstore may be looking into offering staff a health coverage option.