American Rescue Plan Update

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Update

Last week we announced the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The act includes important health care insurance provisions that will expand benefits available to Minnesota through MNsure.

One key change is a two-year enhancement to premium tax credits (PTCs) available to eligible individuals who qualify to purchase coverage through MNsure. The enhancements both increase the amount of PTCs available at all income levels and eliminate the 400 percent earnings of the federal poverty level (FPL).

What the act means for Minnesotans:

  • Those enrolled on the exchange and receiving tax credits will see increased savings.
  • Those enrolled on the exchange but not currently receiving tax credits might become eligible to receive them.
  • Those purchasing coverage directly from an insurance company rather than MNsure can cancel their policy and move to MNsure where they can receive tax credits.
  • Higher subsidies might make premiums more affordable for those who are uninsured.

Consumers must be enrolled in a plan through MNsure to qualify for the enhanced tax credits.

Kaiser Family Foundation has created a calculator to estimate eligibility for subsidies under the new American Rescue Plan Act. This is just an estimate but can help inform consumer decisions about enrolling in coverage.

MNsure will be sharing more details as soon as possible on an implementation timeline and additional information for assisters and consumers.

MNsure Changes

MNsure statement regarding federal changes to the Affordable Care Act

New policies set to improve affordability on Minnesota’s marketplace

ST. PAUL, Minn.—On Thursday, March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, which includes several key health care provisions to the Affordable Care Act that will expand benefits available to Minnesotans through MNsure. This includes an increase in the amount of tax credits MNsure enrollees receive to help them pay for their premiums and an expansion of tax credits to middle-income Minnesotans who previously fell outside income thresholds for financial help. This increase in benefits means Minnesotans who purchase health insurance through MNsure will be able to find a plan with premiums that cost no more than 8.5% of their household income.

“We welcome this great news, which will make health care coverage more affordable,” said MNsure CEO Nate Clark. “Every Minnesotan who currently receives tax credits through MNsure will see additional savings, and thousands more Minnesotans who weren’t eligible to receive financial help before will now be able to access tax credits that can significantly reduce the cost of their health insurance.”

Key takeaways:

  • Most people already enrolled through MNsure will see savings.
  • People enrolled through MNsure without federal premium tax credits may now be eligible.
  • Those currently enrolled in plans outside of MNsure can enroll through MNsure.org and take advantage of benefits.
  • Uninsured Minnesotans should consider these new cost savings.

These expanded tax credits will not be advanceable until later this year. This means enrollees will not immediately see any additional savings on their monthly premiums but can reconcile the savings when they file their taxes next year. Current MNsure enrollees will be eligible for a full year of savings, retroactive to their first month of coverage in 2021. The enhanced savings will be available in advance for the entire 2022 coverage year.

Additional information, including implementation details and timing, and a tool to estimate potential savings, are forthcoming on MNsure.org. Interested Minnesotans should sign up for MNsure’s eNews emails for updates.MNsure is Minnesota’s health insurance marketplace where individuals and families can shop, compare and choose health insurance coverage that meets their needs. MNsure is the only place you can apply for financial help to lower the cost of your monthly insurance premium and out-of-pocket costs. Most Minnesotans who enroll through MNsure qualify for financial help

5 important facts about car insurance no one ever tells you

Understanding the basics of car insurance can be difficult enough, let alone understanding the lesser-known intricacies involved with the guidelines, policies and procedures of today’s insurance providers. Below, we’ve outlined some important, yet oftentimes obscure, insurance facts, so you’re “in-the-know” when you’re on-the-go.

Fact No. 1: Your credit impacts your insurance rates

Believe it or not, your credit may impact your insurance rates. Insurance providers have found that certain credit characteristics for an individual are useful to predict of how likely it is that the individual will have an insurance claim.

These characteristics are not the same ones that a bank uses to measure lending risk, but rather, insurers may use credit-based insurance scores in conjunction with other variables to assess the likelihood of claims submitted. These variables may include age, driving record, claims history, place of residence, the type of car and the average miles driven, among others.

As a general best practice, do what you can to improve your credit, be sure to monitor your credit report on a regular basis, and contact the credit bureau to clear up any errors.

Fact No. 2: Brand loyalty can cost you

If your mind-set about automobile insurance is “set it and forget it,” you might want to reconsider. Years ago, insurance companies evaluated a short list of factors when calculating your premiums. Today, that list has grown to a confusing labyrinth of criteria causing insurance rates to differ dramatically from provider to provider.

Instead of allowing your policy to automatically renew, comparison shop once a year to ensure you’re getting the best auto insurance rates. Some companies provide policies direct to consumers, while others sell policies through agents or brokers.

An easy place to start is by getting auto insurance quotes online, which could save you money. If you’re worried that lower rates mean less coverage or poor service, don’t be. Today, there are plenty of insurance companies that offer affordable premiums, well-rounded coverage and excellent customer service.

Fact No. 3: Stopping payment? You’ll pay in the long run

If you think switching car insurance companies is as easy as stopping payment, think again. Sure, your policy will cancel, but your existing insurance company could report you to the credit bureaus for nonpayment, damaging your credit score in the process. What’s more, your insurance history will reflect a cancellation which may cause a new provider to decline your application or charge you higher premiums in the future.

Instead, be sure to complete the necessary paperwork with your existing provider, such as a policy cancellation form, and time it right by starting your new policy on the date your old policy ends.

Fact No. 4: Your car insurance company can cancel or non-renew at any time

Your insurance company can cancel your policy at any time if you violate one or more of its guidelines during your policy period. Same goes for nonrenewal. Things such as failing to pay your premium on time, losing your driver’s license due to suspension or revocation, submitting too many at-fault claims, or misrepresenting your driving history or past insurance claims could all be reasons for cancellation or nonrenewal.

In either case, your carrier must notify you in writing within a time frame legally required by your state. When it comes to cancellation, your insurance company is required by law to state the reason, not so with nonrenewal. If you want a reason but aren’t provided with one, you must send your insurer a written request. If you believe you’ve been unfairly treated, you may have legal recourse through your state’s department of insurance.

And don’t forget about your “binding period,” the time when your insurance company is especially conscious of your risk level. The binding period usually occurs within 60 days following your auto insurance application. If your insurer finds a discrepancy on your application, on your driving record or with your credit, it can cancel your policy.

Fact No. 5: You could save money by paying your car insurance premium in full

You might be surprised to learn most car insurance companies charge an administrative fee to break up your premium payments into installments, such as paying every six months, every three months or every month. The more you divvy up your payments in installments, the more these “convenience fees” add up, and your once-cheap car insurance can now cost substantially more. There may also be charges for the method of installment payment you choose, such as automatic bill pay or pay-by-phone.

Be sure to ask your provider what its administrative fees are. If it makes financial sense and you can swing it, pay your premium up front and in full. Not only will you avoid the added expense, you won’t have to worry about missing a payment, or being late on payments, both of which could be grounds for cancellation. Other factors, such as the type of car you drive, can cost or save you money on car insurance as well. Safety features, driving habits and increasing your deductible can also have an effect on the bottom line.

This story originally ran on KBB.com.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-important-facts-about-car-insurance-no-one-ever-tells-you-2020-02-05