While there are good reasons for the current rate of inflation, such as supply and demand, it doesn’t make it easy to pay higher prices on almost anything for the family budget.
However, there is a dramatic exception to the higher costs. An exception that can save huge amounts of money on the one thing everyone should have: health insurance.
But not all health insurance costs less. Premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance continue to rise for employers and employees, as happens every year. The health insurance costs exception relates to premiums paid for plans obtained through the federal health insurance market.
In South Carolina, individuals now save an average of 40% on quality health insurance policies. Nationally, four in five consumers are now paying $ 10 or less per month for full coverage plans.
In fact, people who barely keep their heads above water with incomes between 100% and 150% of the federal poverty line now pay no premium on multiple benefit health insurance through the federal market.
Small business owners and high-income employees are also finding that they can pay less for full individual policies, plans they couldn’t afford before.
All of this good news is the result of two federal rule changes that went into effect in March of this year.
First, the income limit for receiving premium assistance in the federal market has been lifted. Prior to this year, to qualify for premium grants that make policies more affordable, you did not have to have an income above 400% of the federal poverty line.
As a result, many small business owners have turned to short-term, low-benefit policies. They paid less in premiums but found the policies had few benefits except for hospital admissions.
This income limit is now gone.
The second rule change was a significant increase in the premium subsidies themselves, which led to consumers paying significantly less for good policies, as described above.
My organization, in partnership with the SC Primary Health Care Association (SCPHCA), is educating small business owners about the possibility of saving on health insurance through the federal market. While neither the SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce nor the SCPHCA sell health insurance, we are both committed to helping all South Carolina residents realize the new access to premium and cost assistance. the dramatic decrease in what they will pay for individual policies.
Small business owners are also encouraged to educate their employees about the now free or low cost health insurance through the market. These entrepreneurs understand that a healthy employee is a more productive employee. Having health insurance is an important way to achieve this.
There are two ways you can get help understanding the federal medicare market, compare a variety of available plans, and enroll.
The SCPHCA funds sixteen mariners across the state with a federal grant. These navigators work for nonprofit community health centers and help consumers review health insurance plans available to them in the federal market and help them enroll. There is no cost for the service.
Consumers can also receive assistance from federally registered insurance agents / brokers to purchase these policies. Consumers who opt for this help should make sure that they are working with someone who will show them the plans of the four insurance companies with policies on the market, and not just the policies offered by one company. Most of these professionals do not charge for their services since they are remunerated by commissions from insurance companies.
Navigators and registered agents / brokers in South Carolina can be found at HealthCare.gov.
Small business owners can also call the SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce at 803-252-5733 to get their questions answered and put in touch with a browser. Membership is not required and there is no charge for the service.
The open registration period for the market runs until January 15th. Registration after this date is limited only to those who have experienced significant changes in their life.
As inflation affects us all, getting a health insurance policy through the federal market could save you enough money to cover all of your other higher costs… and more.
Frank Knapp is the President and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce.