The Biden Administration is now offering free health insurance to millions of Americans, under the American Rescue Plan through the end of 2021.
The benefit's zero-premium health plans became available on July 1, with no income limits for qualifying. But there is only one major eligibility requirement.
If you've gotten or have been approved for unemployment benefits during 2021, you qualify to receive free health coverage for the remainder of the year via HealthCare.gov. That's the marketplace established under the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare.
Middle-of-the-pack "silver" plans (not high-end, but not low-end either) with $0 monthly premiums were rolled out at the beginning of July as part of the program. By comparison, this year's typical Obamacare premium is $452 a month, according to the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation.
The health plans in the free offer are provided by private insurers and come with low or even no copayments or deductibles.
"We are doing everything we can to remove financial barriers to comprehensive health care," says Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, director of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, in a statement. Brooks-LaSure's agency runs HealthCare.gov.
Given that unemployment has remained high this year as the pandemic has lingered, the field of Americans who might take advantage of the free health care is massive. At this moment alone, 3.34 million people are on unemployment, the government reported on Thursday.
Biden's pandemic aid bill has provided other relief to unemployed Americans, including beefed-up jobless benefits through early September (though at least half the states are opting out early) and a tax break on unemployment payments that has resulted in surprise tax refunds for millions.
If you don't qualify for the free coverage and are being squeezed by high health insurance costs, you might still shop around and find a cheaper health plan. Then, you'll want to try some other money-saving strategies to offset your premiums.
Source: Yahoo finance, Healthcare.gov