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Connecticut Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) Facts 2021

What Connecticut Residents Need to Know About Obamacare for 2021

Essential facts about the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) in Connecticut, including whether you must get health insurance, how much it will cost, and how you can save money.

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Updated: 2021-02-16 by

It's not too late! Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) enrollment will be OPEN in Connecticut from February 15 to May 15.

Connecticut has announced a special enrollment period (SEP) for health plan signups under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). This COVID-related enrollment period will run from February 15 to May 15. It mirrors the federal special enrollment period announced by the Biden administration, but Connecticut's SEP applies only to those who are currently uninsured.

This website provides information about getting health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including:

To begin, keep in mind these key points about health insurance in Connecticut:

1. You can use the COVID special enrollment period to get covered under the Affordable Care Act, even though open enrollment is over.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Access Health CT will be open for new Obamacare signups between February 15 and May 15, 2021. If you are currently uninsured, you can use this special enrollment period to get covered for 2021. To learn more about enrollment, see How To Sign Up for Obamacare in Connecticut.

If you already have health insurance. If you're already insured, you can change plans only if you have a "qualifying life event." Otherwise, you must wait until open enrollment for 2022 plans begins in the fall of 2021. To learn whether you qualify for a special enrollment period that will allow you to switch plans, see What Happens If I Missed the Connecticut Obamacare Enrollment Deadline?

2. You won’t face a tax penalty for going without health insurance in 2021—but there are big downsides to being uninsured.

Obamacare’s tax penalty went away in 2019. That means that if you didn’t have health insurance coverage in 2020, you won’t have to pay a penalty when you file your taxes this year.

However, even though there's no more tax penalty, think hard about whether it makes sense to forego health insurance. A medical crisis could knock the financial wind from your sails and do more damage than the penalty would. (A study published in 2019 showed that a lapse in health insurance coverage can double a person's chances of ending up in bankruptcy.) Even if you missed open enrollment for 2021, special circumstances may allow you to obtain coverage.

3. Your health insurance marketplace is located at Access Health CT.

During open enrollment, or whenever you qualify for a special enrollment period, you can use Access Health CT to choose your health insurance plan, apply for cost-saving tax credits, and get other help you need.

To learn more about enrollment, see How Do I Sign Up for Obamacare in Connecticut?

4. Average premium rates have remained fairly stable and insurers are sticking with the marketplace, despite the difficulties of the Covid-19 pandemic.

For 2021, Connecticut residents will find average premium increases of just .01% for plans purchased at Access Health CT. Anthem Health Plans initially requested an average increase of 9.9% but was approved for an average increase of just 1.9%. CTCare Benefits requested an average increase of 5.5% but was approved for an average decrease of -0.1%.

5. Premium subsidies are available to save you money.

Several forms of financial assistance can help you lower your health insurance premiums.

Federal tax credits. The federal government provides help with premium payments for those whose incomes fall between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level. For example, for 2021 health plans, a family of four in Connecticut earning as much as $104,800 can qualify for subsidies, as can an individual who earns up to $51,040. Though the subsidies are tax credits, they are automatically deducted from the cost of your premiums each month, as long as you purchase your plan through Access Health CT.

Cost-sharing reductions. More than half of the people who purchase coverage through a health insurance exchange receive "cost-sharing reductions" (CSRs). Originally, these were payments the federal government made to insurance companies that allowed them to reduce deductibles and co-payments for lower-income Americans. In 2017, the Trump administration stopped paying for CSRs, but insurers and many state regulators found a creative way to keep the program alive—adding the costs to silver marketplace plans through a practice called “silver loading”—so CSR benefits remain available for 2020 insurance plans.

Keep in mind that cost-sharing subsidies are available only on silver plans. They will automatically reduce your premium if your income is no more than 250% of the federal poverty level. (For 2021 health plans, that means a family of four in Connecticut can't earn more than $65,500 and an individual not more than $25,520.) If you think you may qualify, look carefully at costs for the silver plans available at Access Health CT while you are shopping for coverage.

Medicaid. If your income is very low, you may qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Husky Health in Connecticut.

For more information, see Ways to Save Money on Obamacare in Connecticut.

6. No Insurers Sell Short-Term Plans in Connecticut.

In 2018, the Trump administration made it easier to purchase short-term insurance plans. These plans don't have to cover preexisting conditions or the essential health benefits provided by Obamacare plans. The new federal rules say that short-term plans can last for as long as three years. States can make their own rules, however, and the federal changes will have little effect in Connecticut. The state requires all insurance plans to meet strict standards, including coverage of preexisting conditions and a comprehensive package of benefits. For this reason, no insurers are selling short-term health insurance plans in Connecticut.

Remember, if your income is very low, you may qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Husky Health in Connecticut.

7. You can get help signing up if you need it.

A couple of years back, the Trump administration drastically cut funding for programs that provide help with health insurance enrollment. But that doesn't mean you have to fend for yourself when finding and signing up for health insurance. To connect with local support resources, see How To Sign Up for Obamacare in Connecticut.

 

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Connecticut: Law