The American Rescue Plan provides new and expanded financial help to people who receive their health insurance through an Affordable Care Act marketplace like Covered California. The law means that many middle-income Californians can now get more help than ever before, since it ensures that everyone eligible will pay no more than 8.5 percent of their household income on their health insurance premiums. The law also dramatically lowers the cost of insurance for lower-income Californians, with the latest data showing that nearly 700,000 people now have quality coverage through brand-name health plans for $1 per month. While Covered California’s special-enrollment period runs through the end of the year, consumers are encouraged to act now in order to start benefiting from the new law.
“The American Rescue Plan is making coverage more affordable than ever, and more and more Californians are getting high-quality coverage for just a dollar,” Lee said. “The sooner you sign up, the sooner you can start saving and be covered, because we do not want anyone to be uninsured or leave money on the table.”
Californians Who Received Unemployment Benefits Can Get Covered California’s Best Plan for a Dollar a Month
There are 207,000 Covered California consumers who are currently enrolled in the best coverage that the exchange offers, known as Silver 94 plans. Plans in this metal tier include low premiums, $5 copays to see a primary care provider, outpatient services that are not subject to a deductible, an annual deductible of $75 and other cost-sharing benefits that lower the cost of coverage and increase access to care.
A provision of the recently enacted American Rescue Plan, officially launched by Covered California, enables hundreds of thousands of people who received unemployment insurance benefits in 2021 to also get this level of high-value coverage for as little as $1 per month.
“The help for those who received unemployment benefits is big and not tied to their income, but the potential of good deals is there for every Californian who needs health insurance,” Lee said. “If you’re uninsured you should check your options, because hundreds of thousands are qualifying for the best coverage we offer for as little as $1 per month, while others are seeing reductions of hundreds of dollars per month on the plan they’ve already chosen.”
Sheila from Indio is a Covered California enrollee who lost her job as a college professor during the pandemic. When she consulted with her insurance agent, Sheila discovered that she and her daughter now qualified for a Silver 94 plan, and their $221 monthly premium would be dropping to just $1 for the rest of 2021.
“We were so excited that’s even a thing. My first thought was, ‘I’m sure not me,’” Sheila told Covered California. “We spoke yesterday and heard that it would be me. I was floored; we were both astonished.”
The most recent data from the Employment Development Department (EDD) shows that 569,000 Californians filed unemployment insurance claims in May alone. Currently, about 10 percent of Covered California’s enrollees — approximately 141,000 — have indicated they have received unemployment insurance benefits this year, meaning thousands more could be eligible for this new benefit. Covered California has partnered with EDD to inform unemployment insurance recipients through their online accounts of the new subsidies available.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for those who lost their jobs to get a quality health insurance plan at a price that has never been lower,” Lee said. “Whether you or someone you know filed for unemployment this year, now is the time to check out your options and start saving now.”
Covered California enrollees who are eligible for the $1 per month plan and are currently enrolled in a Silver-tier product will automatically be placed into a Silver 94 plan with better coverage. However, Covered California is working to help the 58,000 Covered California enrollees who are eligible and currently enrolled in a non-Silver plan to consider changing their coverage to get an even better deal.
Consumers Can Quickly Find Out If They Are Eligible
Consumers can check their eligibility for big savings whether or not they have received unemployment insurance by using Covered California’s quick calculator.
They will need to input their household income, ZIP code, their household size and the age of each family member and note whether they received unemployment benefits. Once completed, they will see how affordable a silver or bronze plan can be in their area.
“The pandemic has highlighted the importance of quality health care, and whether you end up with a $1 plan, are eligible for no-cost coverage through Medi-Cal or can save hundreds of dollars on your coverage, getting covered is the right thing for you and your family,” Lee said.
Those interested in learning more about their coverage options can:
- Visit www.CoveredCA.com.
- Use the website to find local insurance agents or certified enrollers in community organizations who provide free and confidential assistance over the phone or in person, in a variety of languages.
- Have a certified enroller call them for free help.
- Call Covered California at (800) 300-1506.