Thursday, July 18, 2024

Free Health Insurance For Unemployment Recipients

Don't Miss

The Government Is Now Paying For Unemployed Americans’ Health Insurance

Utah’s Unemployment Insurance Claimant Video

Reporter, HuffPost

Starting Thursday, millions of recently unemployed Americans can opt to have the federal government cover their health insurance costs for several months, offering much-needed relief to people struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

As of April 1, the federal government will start paying the full premiums for Americans who are getting their health insurance through COBRA, a federal program that allows the jobless to continue being covered through their former employers health insurance plan for at least 18 months at personal cost.

The benefit is one of several health care provisions in the American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package Democrats passed in mid-March. The federal government will foot the bill for six months, through the end of September. Theres no definitive estimate for how many Americans this program will reach, but its expected to be in the millions.

As of last August, an estimated 12.7 million Americans had lost their health insurance during the pandemic, according to the last report from the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal-leaning think tank. Half that number was the spouses and children who were getting health insurance through their partners and parents employers.

Im not saying I dont need to go , but Im not going, because I dont want to get more in debt.

– Contessa Washington, 41, Texas

There are stories like Washingtons around the country.

What If I Quit Or Lose My Job

In most cases, when you quit or lose your job, you also lose your job-based health insurance coverage.

You might be eligible to temporarily continue your coverage with COBRA or state continuation.

However, you have to be able to pay both your share of the premium and the part your employer had been paying.

Next Steps: If Youre Unemployed And Need Coverage

  • Learn how to apply for Marketplace coverage and find out if you qualify for Medicaid, the Childrenâs Health Insurance Program , or lower costs for a Marketplace insurance plan.
  • See how to report your income and household size correctly, to make sure you get the right amount of help with coverage costs.
  • Learn about 2018 exemptions from the penalty for being uninsured. Note: You don’t need an exemption for plan year 2019 and beyond.
  • Learn about community health centers, where you can get medical services at prices based on your income.

Recommended Reading: Unemployment Rate Usa By State

Who Is Eligible For Free Health Insurance

Millions of people will be able to take advantage of the insurance subsidies, but theres an important requirement you have to have received or been approved to receive unemployment compensation in 2021.

If you are eligible, the next step is to got to and submit a new application or update an existing one to maximize your savings.

We are doing everything we can to remove financial barriers to comprehensive health care, said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure in a news release. The American Rescue Plan provides consumers with additional savings and will make coverage even more attainable for those most in need.

A special enrollment period created to help Americans affected by the COVID-19 pandemic is open through August 15, 2021.

Other Help For Health Care Coverage

When Will I Get The Extra $600 For Unemployment In Pa

The March relief package also made two changes to premium subsidies for all enrollees to address long-standing complaints that Obamacare plans are not affordable for many people, particularly the middle class.

Enrollees now pay no more than 8.5% of their income toward coverage, down from nearly 10%. And lower-income policyholders can receive subsidies that eliminate their premiums completely.

Also, those earning more than the current cap of 400% of the federal poverty level about $51,000 for an individual and $104,800 for a family of four in 2021 are now eligible for help for the first time.

Laid-off workers who want to remain on their employer health insurance plans through COBRA dont have to pay any premiums from April through September, under the relief law.

Don’t Miss: How Much Is On My Unemployment Card

What Youll Pay Each Month

The unemployment-based subsidies will cover the full cost of the benchmark plan. So youll have access to two Silver plans that have no premium, and youll likely have access to a variety of Bronze plans and possibly some Gold plans that have no premium.

If you pick a plan thats more expensive than the benchmark plan, including the higher-cost Silver plans, youll pay at least some premium each month.

If youre in a state that has additional state-mandated benefits that arent covered by premium subsidies, you may find that you have to pay at least a dollar or two each month in premiums, regardless of which plan you select.

Who Pays For Medicaid

Medicaid is paid for by federal and state taxes. It is administered at the state level. That’s why coverage and eligibility rules vary from one state to another.

If you receive Medicaid, your friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens are paying for your health care with their tax dollars.

If you get Medicaid, youll likely be cared for at the same hospitals and by the same physicians as people who have private health insurance.

Even though Medicaid is government health insurance, most of the care provided to people who receive it comes from private businesses and healthcare providers. Most states contract with private insurance companies to administer coverage. On your ID card, you might the name and logo of a well-known insurance provider.

You can apply for Medicaid through your state’s ACA health insurance exchange or by contacting your states Medicaid program directly.

Recommended Reading: How Much Will I Get In Unemployment

Medical Care And Healthcare Coverage

  • Covered CaliforniaTMA marketplace for people to find out if they are eligible for financial help and buy health insurance, including Medi-Cal. They help you choose a plan that works best for your health care needs and your budget. You may even be able to get help paying for your health care or qualify for Medi-Cal.
  • Covered California for Small BusinessA marketplace where businesses with up to 100 employees can apply for coverage for their workers. Small businesses can offer employees a choice from affordable, top quality, brand-named health insurance within a budget set by the company. Some small businesses could be eligible for federal tax credits.

Can I Choose Different Coverage

Underpaying the Unemployed? GAO says unemployment insurance recipients owed back benefits

If your spouses employer offers the company health plan to you and your children, you don’t have to accept it.

If you can find a better deal on health insurance coverage for you and the kids, you can let your spouses employer cover your spouse only. You and the kids can opt for other coverage.

However, before you make this move, you should know about something called the “family glitch.”

If your spouse’s employer offers family coverage, they will consider that coverage is affordable for the employee without taking into consideration how much gets taken out of their paycheck for the rest of the family’s coverage.

That means that if your spouse’s plan is considered affordable for them, then no one in the family is eligible for premium subsidies in the exchange.

But fortunately for some families, the IRS has proposed a rule change in 2022 that would partially fix the family glitch as of 2023. The new rules are expected to be in place by the time open enrollment for individual/family health coverage begins in November 2022.

Also Check: Where To Claim Unemployment On Taxes

Expanding Enrollment Period For 2022

Under the Obama administration, open enrollment ran through the end of January.

Also, the proposed rule would create a monthly special enrollment period for Americans with household incomes no greater than 150% of the poverty level a little more than $19,000 for 2021 to sign up for premium-free or low-cost coverage on the federal exchange.

The proposed rule would also roll back several efforts by the Trump administration to weaken the landmark health reform law. It would repeal an option that would allow states to let consumers enroll directly through web brokers, insurance agents and health insurers. It also would tighten up the guardrails for waivers that permit states to modify their Obamacare exchanges, superseding a 2018 rule issued by the Trump administration that broadened what changes would be allowed.

The Trump administration last year allowed Georgia to pursue a privatization plan. CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure earlier this month wrote to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, asking the state to submit an updated analysis of its plan.

The proposal would also end the that requires Obamacare insurers to send a separate bill for the portion of the premium attributable to abortion coverage, for which federal funding is prohibited, and to require consumers to pay that bill separately.

Sending two separate bills leads to consumer confusion and loss of coverage, the agency said.

What Do I Do If I Lose My Job

Editor’s Note:

This analysis is part of the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy, which is a partnership between Economic Studies at Brookings and the University of Southern California Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics. The Initiative aims to inform the national health care debate with rigorous, evidence-based analysis leading to practical recommendations using the collaborative strengths of USC and Brookings. This post was updated to include new information about how Unemployment Insurance and other benefits affect eligibility for health insurance programs.

Read Also: Does Unemployment Have To Be Filed On Taxes

The American Rescue Plan Included A New Programme Which Will Make Free Health Insurance Available For The Majority Of Those Who Claim Jobless Support In 2021

Out of work Americans could be in line for some huge discounts on health insurance coverage after a new programme makes it easier for unemployed people to get a policy provided by the Affordable Care Act .

This new benefit was included in the American Rescue Plan but it only went live nationally from 1 July. Unemployed individuals have until 15 August to make the most of the programme. To be eligible for the support you simply need to have claimed at least one week of unemployment benefits payments during 2021.

However even past the 15 August deadline you could still take advantage of the free health insurance if you fit some of the other eligibility requirements. The Obamacare discount is permanently available for those who undergo a key life event, such as marriage, moving house, having a baby or the sudden loss of your previous coverage.

What You’ll Need To Sign Up

When Will I Receive My Unemployment W2 For 2020

You do not necessarily need to provide proof of unemployment to take advantage of the savings, VanSpankeren said. However, it helps to have proof handy in case you need to submit verification.

For people already enrolled in a marketplace health plan, the process could be as simple as resubmitting your application to receive the savings. If you already listed unemployment income, you will automatically receive the savings when you resubmit, said Chang, of Progressive Community Health Centers.

Those enrolling in a marketplace plan for the first time and working with a navigator or other helper may be asked to bring proof of current income and other documents, such as a picture ID or your most-recent tax returns.

Ask what you should bring to an appointment if you are working with a navigator or other helper.

However, VanSpankeren stressed that missing documents should not stop people from trying.

“You could come to a navigator with virtually nothing, and we can figure it out. We can help you,” he said.

Covering Wisconsin is holding most appointments remotely, he said, meaning clients could locate any necessary documents while talking to a navigator from home.

Sarah Volpenhein is a Report for America corps reporter who focuses on news of value to underserved communities for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Email her at . Please consider supporting journalism that informs our democracy with a tax-deductible gift to this reporting effort at

You May Like: How To Get Loan If Unemployed

How Can People Sign Up For Coverage

In general, anyone can visit to start the process of signing up for coverage. Most people who have lost coverage due to a job loss will qualify for a Special Enrollment Period and can follow the appropriate prompts at But there are some tips that may make the process go more smoothly.

How To Claim The Extra Subsidies has not yet implemented automatic subsidy updates, although thats coming in September . But for now, youll need to log back into your account and update your application to activate the subsidies. You can do this through, or through an enhanced direct enrollment entity if you use one.

Some of the state-run exchanges already implemented systems to automatically apply the additional subsidies to accounts where applicants indicated that theyre receiving unemployment compensation this year. But if youre in a state that runs its own exchange, its in your best interest to log back into your account to confirm that youre receiving all of the benefits for which youre eligible.

If you enroll or update your account between August 1 and August 15, your new subsidies will take effect on September 1. The COVID-related special enrollment period ends on August 15 in most states, so this is an important deadline to keep in mind.

If youve already got coverage through the exchange but you dont update your application to start receiving the additional unemployment-based subsidies, youll be able to claim the premium subsidy on your 2021 tax return. However, there is no way to claim cost-sharing reductions after the fact. So its important to make sure youre enrolled in a Silver plan as soon as possible, if you want to take advantage of that benefit.

Recommended Reading: How To Register For Unemployment In Colorado

Do You Need Supplementary Health Or Dental Insurance

If you are young and healthy, you might not need to buy supplementary health or dental coverage. It depends to an extent on what you are covered for under OHIP, a group plan or a parents group plan. For example, starting in January 2018, OHIP provides prescription drug coverage to youth 24 and under who are not covered by private benefits. Those children and youth are able to get more than 4,400 prescription medicines for free by showing their health card and prescription. Coverage is automatic, with no up-front costs. Read the news release to find out more. Check what you are covered for, take a look at your individual situation, and make a decision on whether what you have now is sufficient.

New Changes To The Affordable Care Act Will Make The Majority Of Unemployed Americans Eligible To Receive Either A Full Or Generous Discount On Healthcare

UIA recipients receiving letters saying they were overpaid

From 1 July onwards recipients of unemployment benefits in the United States will be eligible for zero-premium healthcare plans with little or no financial outlay required.

The unemployment financial aid will be provided through the Affordable Care Act marketplace, which recently survived a Supreme Court challenge from a number of Republican-led states. The new cost-free programme was included in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, signed into law by President Biden.

Cynthia Cox, director of the Kaiser Family Foundations Affordable Care Act programme, was optimistic about the development: People who have been unemployed at any point this year essentially can get very generous or free health coverage.

Starting July 1, people who have received any unemployment benefits during 2021 can get no premium health insurance on for the rest of the year. This could be a big source of coverage, if people hear about it.

Larry Levitt

How to register for the free unemployment health insurance

The American Rescue Plan provided special subsidies to programmes in the Affordable Care Act which can lower certain silver tier policies to nothing. The Department of Health and Human Services anticipate that three out of five eligible uninsured Americans will be able to access the $0 healthcare plans.

Special Affordable Care Act subsidies will be available for unemployed Americans starting July 1

CNN Politics

You May Like: Where To Pay Unemployment Taxes

Factors That Might Influence Take

Take-up refers to participation in a program among those who are eligible. Our policy interest in how to design programs that have greater take-up drives our interest in the underlying factors that influence take-up. Therefore, although there are many individual characteristics that are predictors of take-up, these characteristics per se are not our focus, although they are relevant for informing program design. To examine evidence from a variety of sources, including individual predictors of take-up, we need a conceptual framework on the fundamental factors that influence take-up.

Conceptually, we expect eligible people to take up a program if its benefits to them exceed its costs. Benefits depend on the value the program provides to the recipient. Even for cash programs, where benefits would appear obvious, the value to potential recipients still depends on the size of the benefit relative to their general level of wealth and income and the opportunities forgone through participation . For programs such as education or housing vouchers, assessing the value of benefits is even more complicated, since tastes for education and housing clearly vary. For health insurance, benefits depend on the potential recipients health status, belief in the usefulness of health care, attitudes toward financial risk, and access to alternative sources of medical care .

More On Unemployment Benefits

  • Heres what you need to know about the new stimulus child tax credit
  • The uninsured can sign up for coverage on the federal exchange,, through August 15, while those already covered can return to the marketplace to update their information and, possibly, receive larger subsidies.

    States that run their own exchanges have their own timetables, and some may have slightly different rules. In California, for instance, the jobless can sign up for Silver 94 plans for $1 a month. Those covered by that policy pay $5 to see a primary care provider, have an annual deductible of $75 and can access outpatient services that are not subject to the deductible.

    Hundreds of thousands of Golden State residents are eligible, according to Covered California.

    Recommended Reading: Where Can I File Unemployment Taxes For Free

    More articles

    Popular Articles