Financial help reduces 2018 plan costs below last year’s prices for many

The savings that many Marylanders qualify for will lower their health insurance payment in 2018 to below the previous year’s prices, offsetting this year’s premium increases for those enrollees. The savings could be substantial, ranging from $10 or $20 a month for a single young adult to $500 or more for a family of four depending on the plan chosen.

It’s important that Marylanders in need of health coverage check out their options through MarylandHealthConnection.gov and see what help they may get, rather than be deterred by headlines about rate increases.

More than three-quarters of people enrolled in qualified (private) health plans through Maryland Health Connection qualify for financial help in the form of federal tax credits that can reduce the monthly payment for health insurance, which is known as the “premium.”

The premium for many plans increased from 2017 to 2018 after rate increases requested by Maryland’s insurance carriers were approved by the Maryland Insurance Administration.

However, for many people who qualify for financial help, the cost of the plan after the tax credit is applied actually lowers the monthly bill for 2018 to less than the same plan would have cost in 2017. Household size and income and some other factors affect whether a family is eligible for lower costs.

For example, the lowest-cost Silver plan in Maryland for a 21-year-old in Maryland increased from $242/month in 2017 to $292 in 2018. However, after tax credits, that same person with a an annual income of $25,000 would pay out of their own pocket $142 for the plan in 2017, but only $127 in 2018 — a decrease of $15/month.

A family shopping for health coverage with household members age 60, 55, 24 and 19, and an annual income of $53,000 would have paid about $469/month in 2017 for the lowest-cost Silver plan after the tax credit was applied to their premium. In 2018, that plan would cost the family about $236 after the tax credit, a decrease of 50 percent.

Lowest-cost Silver Plan (in Baltimore and Washington D.C. Metro Areas)
Household Members by Age Total Household Income 2017
Before Tax Credit
After Tax Credit
Before Tax Credit
After Tax Credit
Monthly Savings for 2018 Compared to 2017
21 $25,000 $242 $142 $292 $127 $15
64 $36,000 $726 $292 $877 $255 $37
60, 55, 24, 19 $53,000 $1,592 $469 $2,012 $233 $236
40, 38, 16, 14, 8 $60,000 $611 $342 $738 $305 $37
40, 38 $32,000 $611 $173 $738 $139 $33

More than half of exchange enrollees also receive “cost-sharing reductions” that apply toward their costs for health care services, such as lower deductibles and copays, thanks to subsidies paid to their health insurance companies that pay for these discounts. These additional savings increased by several dollars per month (in some cases nearly $28/month) for consumers who qualify and choose a Silver plan.

For Marylanders whose plan cost increased for 2018, or who don’t qualify for financial help, it’s especially important to come back to Maryland Health Connection during open enrollment to shop for a new plan.

Starting October 1, Marylanders can browse new plans and prices at MarylandHealthConnection.gov, and during open enrollment from November 1 to December 15 can update their information and make changes for 2018. It’s important to update your application with any changes in your household or income, as you may qualify for more financial help next year.

Current private-plan enrollees should visit www.marylandhealthconnection.gov/renewal for more information on what to expect during this year’s open enrollment, and tips on deciding whether to stay in your current plan or choose a new one.

Free help to understand your 2018 options is available through our trained staff throughout Maryland. Find local assistance at MarylandHealthConnection.gov/help or through our free mobile app, Enroll MHC.

About Maryland Health Connection

Maryland Health Connection is Maryland’s official health insurance marketplace for individuals and families to compare plans and enroll in health and dental coverage. It’s the only place to get financial help with health insurance. See if you qualify for financial help like tax credits or Medicaid/MCHP to make health insurance more affordable.

Visit MarylandHealthConnection.gov to enroll, or download our free Enroll MHC mobile app for Android and iPhone.

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