Special Healthcare Enrollment Period Extended to August 15

The recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) may help reduce health insurance costs for millions of Americans in 2021. The law expands the Premium Tax Credit from the Affordable Care Act, which can reduce the cost of insurance premiums. Some taxpayers who did not previously qualify for the credit are now eligible, while many current recipients will see an increase in their credit amount this year.

In order to claim the Premium Tax Credit, you must purchase health insurance through the ACA Insurance Marketplace, sometimes called the Exchange. You can access the Marketplace by visiting healthcare.gov. The new rules will enable many Americans to improve their health insurance plan, lower their premiums or both. To give people time to explore options, the 2021 ACA Special Enrollment Period (SEP) has been extended through August 15.

Ordinarily, the SEP is only available for people who experience a qualifying life event (such as a job change) or do not currently have insurance. However, the extended 2021 SEP also allows those who are already insured through the Marketplace to explore new coverage options.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that about one in four current ACA enrollees will benefit from shopping for a new plan. They may be able to get more comprehensive coverage for the same premiums they currently pay, or pay significantly lower premiums for their current level of coverage.

A professional tax advisor can help you determine whether you qualify for the Premium Tax Credit. If so, comparing insurance plans during the 2021 SEP could bring you substantial savings, or the peace of mind offered by more complete coverage.