The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 – also called the COVID-19 Stimulus Package – was passed by congress and signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021. The package includes financial relief to individuals and families, funding to reopen schools safely, an extension of unemployment benefits, and provisions to speed the distribution of vaccines.
It also includes assistance for those who have been laid off or furloughed due to COVID-19. In the past, there have been tax credits or subsidies available for people to purchase individual health insurance policies, but with this latest bill those subsidies have been expanded to include subsidies for COBRA.
Those who find themselves suddenly unemployed due to COVID-19, or for any other involuntary termination reason (aside from termination due to gross misconduct), will be eligible to have their COBRA premiums paid. No more worrying about losing health insurance in addition to losing a job. The bill also helps lower health insurance premiums for policies purchased through the federal marketplace.
Premiums will decrease, on average, by $50 per person per month and $85 per policy per month. Four out of five enrollees will be able to find a plan for $10 or less per month after these tax credits, and over 50% will be able to find a Silver plan for $10 or less per month. One out of four enrollees will be able to upgrade to a higher plan category that offers better out of pocket costs at the same or lower premium compared to what they are currently paying.
For example, if a couple is earning over $70,000 a year and is uninsured, they could save more than $1,000 on their monthly premium. A family of four making $90,000 could decrease their premiums by $200 per month. An individual making $19,000 can find health insurance coverage with no monthly premium, saving around $66 per month.
In Utah specifically, individuals making $32,000 per year or less are eligible for a tax credit. If they make $6,900 or less, they are eligible for $0 benchmark coverage.
A special enrollment period through the Federal Marketplace started on February 15 and will last until May 15 for people who need health care coverage during the pandemic. More than 200,000 people signed up in the first two weeks, and more than 14.9 million Americans without health insurance (and many people currently enrolled) will have their premiums subsidized so they can afford insurance that best suits their needs.
We know that your employees are important to you and you want to provide them with the best possible health insurance options. This plan makes that a little bit easier. If you have questions or need assistance, contact Beehive Insurance today. We are glad to help.
Information about ARPA continues to evolve. For help or guidance with enrollment assistance in Utah, visit Take Care Utah, here, or call the Beehive team.