Does the American Rescue Plan Act Help Me?
Today’s video addresses the changes to marketplace coverage and COBRA coverage as a result of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Watch the video and read the information that follows.
The current administration has reopened healthcare.gov, the federal insurance marketplace which serves most states so that anyone who has lost coverage or remains uninsured can purchase coverage now through August 15th, 2021. Some states have their own state-based marketplace. There is a map on our website under the Education tab that shows whether your state has its own exchange (exchange and marketplace are synonymous terms). To verify your marketplace, go to the healthcare.gov home page and press “Take the First Steps to Apply” where you’ll be directed to enter your state. If you are served by a state-based marketplace the name of the organization and a link to its website will appear.
Some state-based marketplaces will remain open beyond August 15, 2021 but if you are uninsured DON’T WAIT because obtaining coverage should always be a very high priority.
This Act increases the premium tax credit subsidies for those who are eligible for the remainder of 2021 and for 2022. The Act also provided federal subsidies for COBRA but only through (at least for now) September 20, 2021.
This is all good news for uninsured Americans but it adds complexity to an area already poorly misunderstood, so please plan carefully. Many who are subsidy-eligible through their marketplace should contact the marketplace immediately. Others who are on COBRA already and/or offered subsidized COBRA, especially if the employer is extending subsidized COBRA beyond September 30th, might remain on COBRA. Be especially careful if you plan to transition from subsidized COBRA to a marketplace plan to avoid a gap in coverage.
Medicaid is a joint state/federal program which provides coverage for those whose incomes are below the threshold which provides for premium tax credits through the marketplace. There are still 12 states that have not expanded Medicaid to take advantage of the funds available through the Affordable Care Act. In those 12 states it is possible to have income that is too high to qualify for the state Medicaid program but too low to qualify for a marketplace plan. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provides more financial incentives to states to expand Medicaid. Unlike other types of coverage, Medicaid enrollment is ongoing. If you believe you qualify for Medicaid, contact healthcare.gov or the appropriate state-based exchange for information. Those staff are there to help.
Almost all Americans but those living in one of the 12 states who might fall into the gap described above are eligible to have healthcare coverage NOW. Our fragmented system is complex and challenging to navigate but information and support is available in every state. After all, even a high-deductible plan is superior to being uninsured.
Thank you for reading and listening. Please spread the word. Let’s encourage all Americans to put the politics aside and improve their coverage literacy.