The American Rescue Plan – What Are The Basics?
There is so much information out there these days about COVID-19 relief, addressing both economic challenges and to cover healthcare expenses and immunizations for Americans. After dealing with the burden of COVID-19 for a year now, many of us are struggling to keep up with all the options available for economic relief and access to healthcare resources. The marketplace is saturated with ideas, news briefs, next steps and promises as the government attempts to react to the crisis swiftly.
Many Americans aren’t even aware of the breadth and scope of ARP, the American Rescue Plan. This plan attempts to address economic and healthcare gaps causes by the crisis – particularly covering America’s uninsured during this time of uncertainty. Below is a high-level, laymen’s overview of the ARP, who it covers, what to expect and the information you need about its various nuances and coverages.
What is ARP, Exactly?
The American Rescue Plan provides $1.9 trillion to improve access to healthcare for all American citizens. The idea here is to close any gaps in coverage caused by unemployment or temporary economic hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis, and to strengthen health care coverage for both privately and publicly insured. The legislation was signed into law March 11, 2021, and Americans are eligible for provisions and extended programs at the time of this writing.
Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, American citizens were already chronically under or uninsured, with 27.5 million Americans uninsured and rising since the 2018 census. With the onset of the pandemic looming, and the overwhelming burden on hospitals with no patients turned away, the call to introduce more affordable options to Americans became louder than ever in 2020.
ARP is intended to, quite simply, give Americans access to more affordable healthcare coverage and financial protection from the devastating effects of COVID-19 on our healthcare system and economy through the following provisions.
Medicaid and CHIP Expansion
The ARP gives states additional incentives to expand Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) provisions. Pre-COVID, legislators in 12 states were reluctant to expand Medicaid funding under the Affordable Care Act, despite the 90% matching rate offered by the federal government. The onset of COVID-19 created a need for expanded programs in every state. For newly expanded states, the government is offering an additional 5% matching rate incentive for up to two years.
Incentivizing the states that did not choose to expand Medicaid could open up healthcare options for 4.3 million uninsured, with over 2 million state uninsured who are currently in the coverage gap. There was no initial deadline set for states to expand under the ACA, so the window is still open for non-expanders to begin opening up the Medicaid and CHIP programs to more state residents.
Additionally, the Medicaid provisions include no-cost vaccine and testing resources as well as a 12-month postpartum coverage extension.
Marketplace Enrollment Extensions
Those familiar with the US Healthcare Marketplace are aware the rolling open dates are typically October through the end of each year, unless a “life change” (e.g., a marriage or similar circumstances) requires an application update. With the unveiling of the ARP, the government opened a special Marketplace enrollment period until August 15, 2021. The first two weeks of its operation, over 200,000 uninsured signed up for coverage.
Due to premium provisions, the average new enrollment household saves up to $85 per policy. Additionally, the current administration addressed racial and economic disparities with these provisions by targeting provisions to historically underrepresented communities, with mental health and community-based services slated for future expansions.
COBRA Premium Subsidy
If you’ve ever been furloughed or laid off from a job and needed to utilize COBRA, you know it can get pricy. COBRA allows terminated employees to buy in to monthly coverage for up to 18 months. To address this issue during the COVID-19 disaster, the government has provided for a 100% premium subsidy for what it defines as an Assistance Eligible Individual, or AEI.
For example, an AEI is someone who must experience full loss of employment or a furlough, not a reduction in hours. There are other defining criteria for what constitutes an AEI, though most COBRA recipients will find themselves eligible.
Economic Relief Provisions
In addition to the above healthcare provisions, the ARP also provides for economic stimulus payments, homeowner and rental assistance, waived federal income taxes on unemployment benefits and a number of small business provisions.
With the goal of providing underinsured and uninsured with access to much-needed healthcare resources, ARP addresses deficiencies in the healthcare marketplace during the pandemic in a variety of ways.
Whether or not you or your household have experienced COVID-19, ensuring your access to healthcare needs are covered is more possible than ever with the passing of ARP.
We will make sure that you get the maximum amount of financial relief that you’re entitled to.
You probably qualify for low or zero-premium healthcare with the lowest deductibles, lowest out-of-pocket costs, and the lowest cost to see your doctor.
This is full coverage and covers everything from the private health insurance companies that you can choose like Anthem, Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Cigna, Aetna, United Healthcare, and all the brand name carriers that you know and trust.
Call us at (877) THE HALO to make sure you get every dollar this new law wants to give you.
Discuss how the new law impacts you
Review your coverages
Show you all your options
Help you complete your application
Calculate your subsidy and get you the maximum
Submit it to the federal government
Get you approved within minutes!