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Premium Drop for DC Health Link Coverage Thanks to the American Rescue Plan

Thursday, March 11, 2021
$36 million in yearly insurance premium savings for DC residents with DC Health Link coverage; coverage available for as little as $2/month for laid-off residents; 100% of COBRA premium paid for laid-off workers

(Washington, DC­­) – Today, the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority announced major savings for residents in the District of Columbia who purchase private health insurance through DC Health Link, the District’s state-based online health insurance marketplace established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Now signed into law by President Biden, the American Rescue Plan reduces premiums for health insurance through DC Health Link, provides health insurance for as little as $2/month to people who lost their jobs, and pays for 100% of COBRA for laid-off workers. We estimate that residents will save about $36 million in premiums.

“For DC to recover fully from this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, it’s clear that we have to increase access to quality affordable health care,” said Diane C. Lewis, M.P.A., Chair of the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority Executive Board. “Thanks to the largest expansion of the ACA since 2010, even more District residents can afford to get the health coverage they need. We should also be proud that DC Health Link is ready to serve District residents at this critical time.”

The American Rescue Plan’s expansion of the ACA contains critical provisions to reduce health insurance premiums. The American Rescue Plan enhances premium tax credits for 2021 and 2022, and it places caps on insurance premiums for people at all income levels who purchase individual health insurance coverage through an ACA exchange. The American Rescue Plan removes the current 400% Federal Poverty Level (FPL) affordability cap, and it lowers the maximum premium from 9.83% to 8.5% of income for people at 400% FPL and extends protection to people with an income above 400% FPL. This means that a DC resident with an annual income of $51,040 or higher ($104,800 or more for a family of four) would not pay more than 8.5% of their income for health insurance premiums. For DC Health Link customers who don’t currently receive premium reductions, these new federal tax credits would cover nearly 40% of their total premiums, with total premiums dropping for those customers by nearly 40% for all of 2021 and 2022. Additionally, this ACA expansion lowers maximum premium for people under 400% FPL. For DC Health Link customers currently eligible for Advance Premium Tax Credits (APTC), 87% of the total premium would be paid for by federal tax credits for all of 2021 and 2022.

“DC Health Link has been hard at work so that we will be ready for our customers, and we are on track to have these new benefits available starting in April for new customers and for existing customers who don’t receive premium reductions currently,” said Mila Kofman, J.D., Executive Director of the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority. “The good news for our customers who currently receive premium reductions is that DC Health Link will automatically check their eligibility for additional premium reductions and we will lower their monthly premiums automatically.”

For District residents who lost their jobs, the American Rescue Plan provides crucial provisions to improve access to health care coverage. District residents who received unemployment insurance for any week in 2021 are eligible for private health insurance for as little as $2 per month through DC Health Link. DC residents who are no longer receiving unemployment insurance remain eligible, as long as that DC resident received unemployment insurance in 2021 (this includes local and federal pandemic unemployment compensation). In addition, the American Rescue Plan directs the federal government to pay 100% of COBRA premiums—continuation health insurance coverage—for laid-off DC residents through September 30, 2021.

More information on the American Rescue Plan here.

Examples How the American Rescue Plan will Lower Monthly Premiums for District Residents

Monthly Premiums for a 30-year-old

Annual Income

ACA

American Rescue Plan

$ 30,000.00

$ 200.07

$ 90.43

$ 45,000.00

$ 332.51

$ 279.70

$ 60,000.00

$ 332.51

$ 332.511

     

Monthly Premiums for a 45-year-old

Annual Income

ACA

American Rescue Plan

$ 30,000.00

$ 202.82

$ 93.18

$ 45,000.00

$ 376.70

$ 282.44

$ 60,000.00

$ 504.09

$ 433.07

     

Monthly Premiums for a 60-year-old

Annual Income

ACA

American Rescue Plan

$ 30,000.00

$ 209.08

$ 99.44

$ 45,000.00

$ 382.96

$ 288.70

$ 60,000.00

$ 895.93

$ 439.34

* Based on 2021 enrollment in the Second Lowest Cost Silver Plan on DC Health Link

1 No premium reduction because the cost of coverage is lower than the 8.5% of income affordability protection.

Background

District residents can enroll in a health insurance plan online through DCHealthLink.com, or by calling (855) 532-LINK [5465]. Small businesses – as well as individuals and families eligible for Medicaid – can enroll through DCHealthLink.com throughout the year.

From now through the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, residents—as well as employees and dependents of employers already covered through DC Health Link—can enroll using DC Health Link’s Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for COVID-19. All DC Health Link plans cover diagnosis, treatment, testing, and vaccination for COVID-19 for free. Residents signing up during the COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period can have coverage effective immediately.