New Stimulus Benefit Offers Free Health Insurance Through End Of This Year
The massive COVID bailout that President Joe Biden signed in March – the same law that included a $ 1,400 stimulus and upcoming monthly payments for families – now offers free health insurance to millions of Americans, until the end of 2021.
The zero benefit premium health care plans just became available on July 1, and there is no income limit to qualify. But you have to fulfill a big eligibility condition.
Get free health care if you have applied for unemployment this year
If you have obtained or have been approved for unemployment benefits in 2021, you are entitled to free health coverage for the rest of the year through HealthCare.gov. This is the market established under the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare.
Mid-range (not high-end, but not low-end) “silver” plans with $ 0 bonuses debuted as part of the program Thursday. Health plans, which are offered by private insurers, also come with low or no co-payments or deductibles.
“We are doing everything we can to remove financial barriers to comprehensive health care,” Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, director of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said in a statement. The Brooks-LaSure agency manages HealthCare.gov.
Given that unemployment has remained high this year as the pandemic has continued, the number of Americans who could benefit from free health care is huge. This week alone, nearly 3.5 million people are unemployed, the government reported on Thursday.
Other types of relief for unemployed Americans provided in the Biden pandemic aid measure include increased unemployment benefits through early September (though at least half of states are pulling out early) and a tax break on unemployment benefits which resulted in tax refunds in the millions.
How to buy free insurance
If you are uninsured and received unemployment benefit at any time this year (even for just one week), you can enter that information on HealthCare.gov, then purchase a free plan from the site and sign up. before August 15th. at the end of the current open registration period.
The stimulus law says that your income will not be taken into account; normally there are income limits to be eligible for Obamacare coverage. But note that you are generally not eligible if you can get insurance through an employer – your own or your spouse’s – or through Medicare or Medicaid.
Although the free unemployment benefit coverage expires in December, Biden’s US bailout offers broad, low-cost coverage until at least 2022. So you can decide to stay with Obamacare after this year.
Members of HealthCare.gov now pay no more than 8.5% of their income to their health insurance, down from the previous cap of 10%. And, generally speaking, anyone earning over $ 51,000 now saves an additional $ 1,000 per month.
A survey released in June by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation found little awareness of new health insurance discounts. More than 8 in 10 eligible Americans (81%) were unaware or unsure of the help. Only 1 in 10 (9%) had gone online to find the cheapest packages.
If you can’t get free insurance but need help
If you don’t qualify for free coverage and are stuck with high health insurance costs, you can always shop around and find a cheaper health plan. Next, you’ll want to try other money-saving strategies to offset your premiums:
Reduce the cost of home ownership. If you’re a homeowner and haven’t refinanced ultra-low interest rates in the past year, you might be missing out. Mortgage data and technology provider Black Knight says more than 14 million homeowners still have the potential to save an average of $ 287 per month by refinancing. Also check if you can get a better deal on home insurance.
Dominate your debt. Credit cards saved the lives of many Americans during the pandemic, but their high interest can wreak havoc on your finances for years to come. Consolidating your balances into a low interest debt consolidation loan will help you pay off your debts faster and at lower cost.
Be serious about saving. If your budget is stretched to the point of crunching, eliminate all unnecessary expenses. Cancel monthly subscriptions you don’t use and go to the grocery store with a list you stick to. Whenever you shop online, use a free browser add-on that automatically searches for better prices and coupons.
Invest, because you can afford it. You don’t have to be rich to profit from today’s boom in the stock market. A popular app allows you to invest in a diversified portfolio using nothing more than “spare currency” from daily purchases.