What You Need to Know
- The HealthCare.gov special enrollment period will last until Aug. 15.
- Covered California will offer a broad special enrollment period from April 12 through Dec. 31.
- Consumers can apply new premium subsidies to exchange plan coverage that's already in place.
The Biden administration is giving consumers three extra months to sign up for health coverage through HealthCare.gov.
The extension of the enrollment period to give consumers more time to understand and use the health insurance premium subsidy provisions in the new American Rescue Plan Act, the administration stated.
Consumers can use the enrollment period to apply the new subsidy increases to coverage that’s already in force as well as to apply for new coverage.
“The American Rescue Plan will bring costs down for millions of Americans, and I encourage consumers to visit HealthCare.gov and sign up for a plan before August 15,” said. Xavier Becerra, who was confirmed as the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last week, said in a statement.
American Rescue Plan Changes
One temporary provision in the act will cap what ACA exchanges expect people to pay for exchange plan coverage at 8.5% of income. In areas where insurance premiums are high, that change may make ACA premium tax credit subsidies available to some families with $200,000 or more in annual household income.
That provision will start to take effect April 1.
Another provision in the act provides a big increase in premium tax credit subsidies for ACA exchange plan users who are unemployed. HealthCare.gov and other ACA exchanges will trea tthose users as if they had income at 133% of the federal poverty level.
That means that, temporarily, even high-income unemployed people may be able to get exchange plan coverage for an out-of-pocket cost that will be close to zero.
The extra premium subsidy for unemployed people will take effect in early July.
The extra subsidy for unemployed people can help “consumers who have received or have been determined eligible to receive unemployment compensation for any week during 2021,” officials say.
The new American Rescue Plan subsidy rules apply in all states, but the new enrollment period extension applies only in the 36 states that use the HealthCare.gov ACA exchange administration system.