Stimulus Bill To Offer Free or Low-Cost Healthcare Coverage

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 signed into law by President Joe Biden last month has two provisions that will lower health insurance costs for millions of Americans.

In Hawaii, this will mean significantly expanding access to free or low-cost healthcare to individuals and families, ensuring that no one gets left behind,” said Colin Hayashida, the Insurance Commissioner of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs – Insurance Division.

One provision provides 100% COBRA subsidy for up to six months from April 1 through September 30, 2021, for anyone who lost health coverage due to involuntary termination or reduction in hours on or after November 1, 2019. Employers and plan administrators will determine and contact the eligible individuals and their dependents by May 31.

Moreover, another provision will extend the Affordable Care Act subsidies to higher-income individuals and increase the subsidies to lower-income individuals. This provision increases the Premium Tax Credit for most consumers by reducing the share of income consumers contribute to premiums and by removing the upper income limit. Consumers can purchase their discounted health insurance through the ACA Marketplace:

“Some COBRA enrollees may see premiums drop to zero. Some Marketplace enrollees are likely eligible for new or larger subsidies and our uninsured population may be eligible for new Marketplace subsidies and possibly free premiums,” Hayashida explained.

“I urge them to visit starting April 1 to see if they now qualify when they didn’t before or if they now qualify for lower cost plans.”

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