Changes in Healthcare in 2022

Happy New Year! 2021 is behind us, and what a year it was. There were a ton of changes to the ways that people shop for health insurance, but it’s time to move forward. 2022 promises to bring as many changes to the health insurance market as 2021 did. 

2021 In Review 

2021 was a huge year for the Affordable Care Act and healthcare in general. The federal government spent a lot of money letting people know that they could still sign up for healthcare though the ACA and it paid off. This year, over 31 million people were enrolled in ACA health plans through healthcare.gov and brokers like Apollo Insurance Group. 14.6 million people signed up in November and December alone – an all-time high.  

Healthcare Law in 2021 

2021 was a banner year for changes in healthcare law in the United States. Between the administration change from President Trump to President Biden and the pandemic, there were a ton of changes to healthcare. Some of them were temporary measures, but some are here to stay. 

Biden extended the Special Enrollment Period due to Covid-19 for ACA Marketplace plans. Millions of people were able to enroll in ACA plans outside of the Open Enrollment period because of these extensions. 

In February, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan. The sweeping bill had an impact on almost every part of American society, and healthcare was no exception. The bill made a number of changes to healthcare in 2021: 

  • Subsidized 100% of COBRA insurance premiums from April-September, 2021. 
  • Removed the hard income limit on subsidies for ACA premiums: now, anyone paying more than 8.5% of their income in premiums is eligible for subsidies. 
  • Increased premium subsidies for low-income households, including some that would lower premium payments by 100%. 
  • Required Medicaid and CHIP to cover Covid-19 vaccinations. 
  • Allowed states to give up to 12 months of post-partum Medicaid coverage to mothers. 
  • Created incentives for states to expand Medicaid. 

All of the changes to the ACA in the American Rescue Plan were temporary measures. However, the changes to Medicaid and CHIP are here to stay. 

Open Enrollment for 2022 

ACA Open Enrollment for 2022 (which started on November 1st, 2021 and is continuing until January 15th) marked a lot of changes from previous years. First and foremost, the actual enrollment period is a month longer than normal: In the past, it only lasted until December 15th.  

Even ignoring the increased enrollment time, more people signed up for ACA health insurance than ever before. 1.8 million new people signed up for ACA insurance between November 1st and December 15th, bringing the total number of enrollments in that time frame to a staggering 14.6 million people. 

Unfortunately, it’s not all good news. Deductibles rose again this year, like they always do. For 2022, the highest deductible ACA plans went from $8,550 to $8,700.  

More states started using their own insurance marketplace instead of the federal Marketplace for 2022: Kentucky, Maine, and New Mexico joined 14 other states and the District of Columbia in creating their own public exchanges. For a full list of state-run exchanges, visit healthcare.gov

Looking Forward to 2022 

2021 brought a lot of changes to healthcare, and 2022 looks like it's going to do the same thing. In particular, there are two laws that could change healthcare drastically in 2022: The No Surprises Act and the Build Back Better Act. 

No Surprises Act 

The No Surprises Act was passed in 2021 and will be in effect in 2022. The No Surprises Act will prevent people from being surprised by medical bills that seem like they should be covered by insurance, but aren’t. Specifically, the No Surprises Act will do a few things: 

  • Ban surprise bills for emergency services, even if they’re out-of-network 
  • Ban charging more for out-of-network cost sharing than in-network cost sharing 
  • Ban out-of-network charges when someone gets care from an out-of-network provider at an in-network facility 
  • Require health care providers to give a good faith estimate of how much a procedure will cost if the recipient is paying for it out-of-pocket. 

These changes will help alleviate a concern that a lot of people that pay for health insurance have – that they’ll be stuck with a bill they thought their insurance covered. 

Build Back Better Act 

At this point in time, it is not clear if the Build Back Better Act will pass through Congress. If it does pass, then it could be with any number of changes to what is/is not included. At this point, there are a number of proposed changes to healthcare included in the bill: 

  • Tax penalties for drug companies that increase prices faster than inflation 
  • Cap insulin prices at $35/month 
  • Cap drug spending at $2,000/year for people on Medicare 
  • Lower Affordable Care Act premiums 
  • Increase ACA tax credits for individuals in states that do not have expanded Medicaid coverage 
  • Expand Medicare to cover hearing benefits 

Any one of these changes could have a drastic impact on healthcare in the United States and health insurance as an industry.  

Preparing for the Future 

It isn’t clear where healthcare is going in the future. There are an uncountable number of things that could change at any point. Or, alternatively, everything could stay the exact same. The only thing that is certain is that it would be helpful to have an expert on your side when you navigate your health. That’s why you should contact Apollo Insurance Group for any of your health insurance or healthcare needs. Their services are free to the consumer, so there is no downside to starting a conversation and seeing what options are available. Call today! 

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