Unemployment

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I've received an important reminder from the folks at HealthCare.Gov:

Continued Enrollment Opportunity for Consumers with Unemployment Compensation

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) provides additional savings to help consumers access affordable, quality health coverage options, including expanded opportunities for those who received or are approved to receive unemployment compensation in 2021.

Starting July 1, 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) added a new function to HealthCare.gov to allow consumers who receive or are approved to receive unemployment compensation for any week beginning during 2021 to access new savings on health insurance coverage, if they qualify.

MA Health Connector

Last week I noted that MNsure, Minnesota's state-based ACA exchange, announced that while the general, open-ended 2021 Special Enrollment Period had ended back in mid-July, they're still letting any Minnesotan who received unemployment benefits at any point in 2021 the opportunity to enroll in ACA healthcare coverage & take advantage of the American Rescue Plan's Unemployment Benefit.

The key point is that Minnesotans can still do so even if they received UI benefits prior to the July 15th SEP deadline. This means that if you were on unemployment back in, say, January or February, and you still need healthcare coverage for the remainder of 2021, you can still visit MNsure.org and get coverage for the last 4 months of this year for $0 in premiums and with mostly nominal deductibles/co-pays (assuming you aren't eligible for employer-based coverage, Medicaid, etc. instead).

MNsure Logo

I'm gonna be posting mea culpas for a few days for missing important ACA-related announcements over the past few weeks.

As I've noted several times before, the American Rescue Plan includes an extremely helpful provision for any American who received unemployment benefits at any point during 2021. The short version is that if you received UI benefits for even a single week this year and want to enroll in ACA exchange coverage, your household income will be defined as being 133% of the Federal Poverty Level for purposes of ACA subsidy eligibility regardless of how high or low your actual 2021 income ends up being.

This means, in turn, that you're eligible for a fully-subsidized ACA exchange plan...that is, there will be at least one Silver plan available for $0/month in premiums after subsidies are applied.

Platinum Blonde

Last week I gave a heads up about the imminent launch of the American Rescue Plan's "Unemployment Insurance Benefit" provision at HealthCare.Gov:

This, again, is a Big Deal for this year. Paired with the beefed-up APTC table, what it means is that if you're on unemployment this year you effectively don't have to pay anything for a benchmark Silver plan. I'm not sure if you have to be unemployed for the full year or not...the wording above sounds like even someone who's only on unemployment for one or two weeks would still be counted as having 133% FPL.

Sure enough, just about anyone who is either currently receiving unemployment benefits or who did earlier this year (or later this year, for that matter) is likely eligible for a FREE ($0* Premium) Silver CSR 94 plan...otherwise known as #SecretPlatinum:

Platinum Blonde

Back in March, I noted that one of the more interesting provisions of the American Rescue Plan is that anyone who receives unemployment benefits at any time during calendar year 2021 is eligible for maximum ACA subsidies:

Sec. 9663 – Application of premium tax credit in case of individuals receiving unemployment compensation during 2021

For 2021, provides advanced premium tax credits as if the taxpayer’s income was no higher than 133 percent of the federal poverty line (FPL) for individuals receiving unemployment compensation as defined in section 85(B) of the Internal Revenue Code.

This, again, is a Big Deal for this year. Paired with the beefed-up APTC table, what it means is that if you're on unemployment this year you effectively don't have to pay anything for a benchmark Silver plan. I'm not sure if you have to be unemployed for the full year or not...the wording above sounds like even someone who's only on unemployment for one or two weeks would still be counted as having 133% FPL.