Free health insurance Biden stimulus offer comes to an end
That huge COVID bailout, President Joe Biden signed in March – the same law that provided for $ 1,400 stimulus checks and the new monthly payments for families – currently offers free health insurance to millions of Americans, until the end of 2021.
But consumers don’t have much time to register, as the window is closing soon, administration officials say.
The zero-premium stimulus benefit health care plans have been available for about a month, and there is no income limit to qualify. But you have to fulfill a big eligibility condition.
Get free health care for claiming unemployment this year
If you received or were approved for unemployment benefits in 2021, you are entitled to free health coverage until the end 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 monthly bonuses of $ 0 debuted July 1 as part of the program. In comparison, this year’s typical Obamacare premium is $ 452 per month, according to the nonprofit. Kaiser Family Foundation.
Free plan health plans are provided by private insurers, and come with low or no copayments or deductibles.
âWe are doing everything we can to remove financial barriers to comprehensive health care,â 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 potentially benefit from free health care is huge. At present, nearly 3.3 million people are unemployed, the government reported last Thursday.
Biden’s pandemic aid bill provided further relief to unemployed Americans, including increased unemployment benefits through early September (though at least half of the states pulled out early) and a tax relief on unemployment benefits which resulted in surprise tax refunds for millions.
The cut-off of free insurance is coming
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. .
But you must apply by August 15, when the current special registration period ends, administration officials Biden said.
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 usually not eligible if you can get insurance from an employer – your own or your spouse’s – or through Medicare or Medicaid.
Although the free unemployment benefit coverage will end in December, the president’s US bailout offers broad, low cost coverage at least until 2022. So you can decide to stay with Obamacare after this year.
HealthCare.gov registrants 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 more than $ 51,000 now saves an additional $ 1,000 per month, according to the administration.
More than 2 million Americans signed up for market plans during the special enrollment, which opened on Feb.15. Of those, 1.2 million chose plans costing $ 10 or less per month, thanks to stimulus discounts, according to the Centers for Medicare. & Medicaid Services
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 for 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. Rates have recently fallen back to their historic lows and offer opportunities for save hundreds of dollars per month and thousands over time. You can also check if you can score 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 ruin your finances for years. Consolidating your balances into a low interest debt consolidation loan will help you pay off your debts faster and affordable.
Be serious about saving. If your budget is stretched to the point of crumbling, stop unnecessary spending. 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 search 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 a “spare currency” day-to-day purchases.