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05.13.2021 / Reporters Note

Reporters Note- Improving Health Insurance Affordability Act of 2021: Exactly What Families Need and Deserve

A big theme of recent elections is that American families want Congress to address rising health care costs. A recent poll from Families USA and Hart Research Associates indicates that 89% of voters consider it one of the most important actions they want to see on health care. Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s new legislation is designed to do just that.

A new analysis from Stan Dorn, Director of the National Center for Coverage Innovation and Senior Fellow at Families USA, notes that the Improving Health Insurance Affordability Act of 2021 will provide vital benefits for families because it takes two significant steps to lower health care costs:

  • Makes the American Rescue Plan (ARP) provisions that provided a two-year reduction in premiums for people who buy their own insurance permanent. According to the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation, 18.7 million people who buy their own insurance will see their premium costs drop by an average of $840 a year, thanks to the ARP. Their costs will shoot right back up on New Year’s Day 2023, without the Shaheen bill.
  • Bases federal financial assistance on gold-tier plans with lower deductibles, rather than silver-tier plans, substantially lowering the amount that people who have insurance must pay when they seek care. This follows through on commitments made by then-Presidential-candidate Biden.

The new analysis finds that, by lowering deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs, the Shaheen bill would cut average health care spending for people who buy their own insurance from $1,782 a year to $685 per year, more than a 60% savings. Combined with premium savings, the average person’s health costs would go down by more than $2,500 every year – significantly more than people got in one-time COVID relief checks a few months ago.

The same states that suffer the most from high deductibles today would get the most help from the Shaheen bill. Top of the list is West Virginia, and other states in this category include Alaska, Nebraska, Maine, Montana, South Dakota, and Arizona.

“By protecting families from seeing their premiums skyrocket on New Year’s Day 2023 and by finally tackling the problem of unaffordable deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs, the Improving Health Insurance Affordability Act of 2021 is the kind of Congressional action that families are desperate for, especially while the COVID-19 health and economic crisis continues,” said Dorn. “We applaud Sen. Shaheen for taking this crucial step to ensure that no one in America has to worry that they can’t afford health care or has to choose between going to the doctor when they get sick and feeding their families.”