New stimulus benefit Biden offers free health insurance for 6 months
The massive COVID bailout that President Joe Biden signed in March – the same law that included a $ 1,400 raise and the monthly payments for families which start next week – now offers free health insurance to millions of Americans, until the end of 2021.
The zero-benefit health plans became available on July 1, with no income limit to qualify. But there is a major eligibility condition.
Get free health care to file 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, also known as Obamacare.
Mid-range “silver” packages (not high-end, but not low-end either) with monthly bonuses of $ 0 were rolled out in early July as part of the program. In comparison, this year’s typical Obamacare premium is $ 452 per month, according to the nonprofit. Kaiser Family Foundation.
The free health plans are provided by private insurers and come with a low or no copayment or deductible.
“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. At the moment alone, 3.34 million people are unemployed, the government said on Thursday.
The Biden Pandemic Assistance Bill provided further relief to unemployed Americans, including increased unemployment benefits through early September (though at least half of states are pulling out early) and a tax relief on unemployment benefits which resulted in surprise tax refunds for 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. when the current open enrollment period ends, according to officials in the Biden administration.
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 COVID 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.
A survey released in June by the Kaiser Family Foundation found low awareness of Biden’s 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 still 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 opportunity to save an average of $ 287 per month by refinancing. 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 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 affordable.
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 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.