HEALTHCARE

Free health insurance for unemployment recipients: eligibility and how to get it

New changes to the Affordable Care Act will make the majority of unemployed Americans eligible to receive either a full or generous discount on healthcare.

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New changes to the Affordable Care Act will make the majority of unemployed Americans eligible to receive either a full or generous discount on healthcare.

From 1 July onwards recipients of unemployment benefits in the United States will be eligible for zero-premium healthcare plans with little or no financial outlay required.

The unemployment financial aid will be provided through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace, which recently survived a Supreme Court challenge from a number of Republican-led states. The new cost-free programme was included in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, signed into law by President Biden.

Cynthia Cox, director of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Affordable Care Act programme, was optimistic about the development: “People who have been unemployed at any point this year essentially can get very generous or free health coverage.”

How to register for the free unemployment health insurance

The American Rescue Plan provided special subsidies to programmes in the Affordable Care Act which can lower certain ‘silver’ tier policies to nothing. The Department of Health and Human Services anticipate that three out of five eligible uninsured Americans will be able to access the $0 healthcare plans.

The sign-up for these great deals can be found on healthcare.gov, with a new online portal open through 15 August 2021. If you already receive insurance through a healthcare.gov policy then you can also use the portal to update your information and search for a cheaper option.

The healthcare.gov online portal will first ask for a home state and email address to begin the process. You will then be given the option to create an account, from which you can enter personal details and information on your current employment situation.

Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said of the news: “We are doing everything we can to remove financial barriers to comprehensive health care.”

She added “The American Rescue Plan provides consumers with additional savings and will make coverage even more attainable for those most in need.”

The American Rescue Plan has also made other changes to the healthcare system which will make insurance more affordable for all Americans. In the past ACA was only available to those earning no more than 400% of the national poverty level; that cap will be eliminated in 2022.

Furthermore a special enrolment period was created through Biden’s executive order in February to make it easier for individuals to find marketplace coverage. The CMS announced in early June that more than one million Americans had taken advantage of the enrolment period, which continues until 15 August.