Bennet Cosponsors Legislation to Lower Health Care Costs & Expand Access to Insurance for Millions More Americans

Washington, D.C. — Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) in reintroducing the Improving Health Insurance Affordability Act (IHIAA), which would make permanent the enhanced tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) & the American Rescue Plan (ARP) that led to record Marketplace enrollment while reducing health care costs for millions of additional Americans.

Last Congress, Bennet helped secure enhanced health insurance premium tax credits in the IRA and ARP that he first proposed as part of his Medicare-X public option bill. The IHIAA continues to build on these efforts by making these tax credits permanent while also lowering out-of-pocket costs for Marketplace enrollees. These provisions stand to expand access to health care and lower costs for Coloradans.

“Every American should have access to high quality health care,” said Bennet. “The Affordable Care Act dramatically improved coverage and affordability for health care in America, and over the last Congress, I worked hard to expand tax credits to help Coloradans access coverage for them and their families. This bill builds on these efforts and makes sure health insurance remains affordable into the future.”

The?IHIAA?would make permanent tax credits from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for Health Insurance Marketplace coverage as extended through the IRA. The enhanced tax credits in the IRA made tax credits available to people with income between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) while expanding eligibility for premium tax credits to include individuals with income above 400 percent of FPL. The bill would also make the second-lowest-cost Gold plan the benchmark plan upon which premium tax credits are based, which would substantially reduce deductible and out-of-pocket costs for families of all incomes. Finally, the bill would also increase the value of cost-sharing reduction (CSR) assistance for people with income between 100 and 250 percent of FPL (who are already eligible), while also expanding eligibility for CSR assistance to people with income up to 400 percent of FPL.

According to the most recent data, nearly 15.9 million Americans and almost 200,000 Coloradans have signed up for 2023 individual market health insurance coverage through the Marketplaces since the start of the 2023 Open Enrollment. That record-breaking enrollment represents a 13% increase over last year and is driven by the enhanced tax credits extended through the IRA. According to a June 2022 report from the Department of Health and Human Services, absent the enhanced tax credits, 8.9 million Americans and more than 100,000 Coloradans stood to have their tax credits reduced. 1.5 million Americans and 17,000 Coloradans would lose their subsidies entirely. Similarly, a February 2021 Urban Institute?analysis?of changes included in this legislation indicates that this bill could significantly reduce out-of-pocket costs for consumers newly eligible for CSR assistance or heightened levels of CSR assistance through lower deductibles.

In addition to Bennet and Shaheen, the bill is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

The full text of the bill is available HERE.