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COBRA Premium Reimbursements and How to Qualify

President Biden’s America Rescue Plan has already affected millions of Americans through tax subsidies and stimulus checks. Here’s how it may affect your health insurance this year, especially if you’ve lost your job due to COVID-19.

On March 11th, 2021, President Biden signed the America Rescue Plan into law. A major part of the rescue plan is that it will help qualified people receive assistance with health insurance costs through government subsidies and reimbursement.

Those who are laid off, retired, have experienced reduced hours, or have experienced any other qualifying reason for job loss are eligible for COBRA (the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act), which is a law that helps people keep their insurance after losing their job. Biden’s plan subsidizes COBRA for those who have lost their job through pandemic-related issues.

Although an employee can qualify for COBRA for a variety of reasons, not all will qualify for an insurance reimbursement.  The federal government is willing to reimburse people for the cost of COBRA if they’ve lost their job due to COVID-19 However, if someone voluntarily left their workplace during the pandemic, they will not qualify for this government assistance.

What President Biden’s New COBRA Program Means

In regular times, COBRA mandates that continuing insurance options for individuals and their families are generally available for up to 18 months (depending on state requirements). Now, the federal government will be subsidizing premium expenses for those who qualify between April 1st to September 30th. This subsidy will cover the insurance premiums, but copays and deductibles would still be left for the former workers to cover. Those that would like retroactive coverage for previous months of coverage will be responsible for the premiums for those months. If retroactive coverage is not desired, the applicant would only be responsible for the premiums moving forward. Because most COBRA options are available from 18 to 36 months, when an employee’s eligibility finishes, the assistance from the federal government also no longer applies.

What Should I Consider Before Using Biden’s Plan?

One factor that will likely disqualify a large group of people from President Biden’s plan is outside enrollment. If someone who lost their job enrolls in insurance outside of COBRA, they would no longer be eligible to transition back into their former workplace’s insurance. Those who become new employees at a workplace that provide health insurance by September 30th are also no longer eligible. There are other restrictions that may hamper applicants in the long run as well- they can all be found here (or you can simply get in touch with one of our experts to discuss your options).

For those who qualify for COBRA, there are some other things to consider. If your insurance coverage comes to term shortly after April, you will want to make sure you have insurance coverage moving forward. Although you will have assistance for those eligible months, you might have a lapse in coverage if your next step is not planned ahead of time. (As a reminder, open enrollment for Affordable Care Act options is now available until May 15th). For those who are enrolled in family plans, any dependents who have turned 26 years old will be responsible for finding their own insurance policy. Another factor to consider is that former spouses of the primary insurance holder are still eligible for the COBRA plan but are responsible for the cost.

What If I Want Other Healthcare Options or Miss the Healthcare Enrollment Period?

For more information about COBRA and how President Biden’s plan affects you, or if you have any other questions or would like to enroll in health insurance, just fill out the short form below or give us a call at 888-375-8879 and we’ll help you get insurance at a rate you can afford.

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Experts Discuss Biden’s Health Insurance Marketplace Enrollment Extension

Health Insurance Experts share what they think President Biden’s new executive order means for uninsured Americans.

Last week, President Biden signed an executive order designed to address the impact COVID-19 has had upon Americans’ ability to access healthcare. President Biden’s order reopened the health insurance marketplace for a special enrollment period, and also encouraged all government agencies to review their health insurance policies. 

According to reports from the Commonwealth Fund research group, nearly 7.7 million Americans lost their job-sponsored health insurance in June 2020 alone, and many others have lost their coverage since then. In contrast, a relatively small number of those people have signed up for COBRA or new health insurance, meaning that millions of Americans are newly uninsured during the greatest health crisis our country has ever seen. Public health analysts believe that disparities like these could combine to create an even worse healthcare crisis than we’re already facing, and agree this is likely at least part of the reasoning beyond Biden’s executive order.

“…nearly 7.7 Americans lost their job-sponsored health insurance in June 2020 alone.”

– Commonwealth Fund Report: “How Many Americans Have Lost Jobs with Employer Health Coverage During the Pandemic?”

Health insurance experts at Health Plan Options Today who work directly with the uninsured have given their take on Biden’s executive order and whether they think it can help the uninsured masses. 

“The biggest concern folks seem to have is that they can’t afford health insurance- especially considering today’s financial condition- so they often see no way out”, said William G, a representative at Health Plan Options Today. “Of course, this isn’t the case, and we’ve been doing our best to educate people to the contrary. Hopefully the President’s executive order causes people to take another look at health insurance so they can get covered”.

“The biggest concern folks seem to have is that they can’t afford health insurance… Of course, this isn’t the case”

William G. HealthPlanOptionsToday Healthcare Expert

Stephanie A., another representative at Health Plan Options Today, says there are other major issues that have shaped people’s ideas of access to health insurance, especially given the United States’ unemployment rate: “Many people have no idea how COBRA health insurance works, and a lot don’t even know it exists in the first place. They just think that if they lose their job due to COVID, there are no other insurance options available.” Stephanie echoes William’s optimism for Biden’s Plan: “I really hope that the people who lost their jobs and didn’t take advantage of COBRA use the special enrollment period to their advantage.”

Overall, there is generally support for Biden’s executive order, especially considering 2020’s historically short marketplace insurance enrollment period and low enrollment numbers. Many people who missed the original enrollment period will now have a second chance at enrolling for ACA-based plans in 2021. Perhaps William G. summed it up perfectly: “I think we can all agree that no matter what, a second chance is always nice.”

Are you insured? To get your own second chance at affordable health insurance, fill out the form below and one of our agents will contact you, or call us at 1-888-375-8879.

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Biden Reopens Obamacare Enrollment

Don’t Have Insurance? Here’s How Biden’s Executive Order Helps You

On January 28, with just a few quick strokes of his pen, President Joe Biden signed an executive order that changed the way many Americans access their health insurance temporarily, and may permanently change the way federal agencies- and by extension, healthcare companies everywhere- approach insurance.

President Biden’s executive order will reopen Affordable Care Act (ACA) healthcare enrollment for a special enrollment period between February 15th and May 15th- and not just for those who are eligible for COBRA or other special coverages. The order also demands that federal agencies review their policies to make sure that healthcare truly is affordable, and to ensure their policies do not block insurance access for those with preexisting conditions, including COVID-19. Biden’s order also urged these same agencies to make other changes that will “protect and strengthen” access to healthcare in the future.

Biden made a statement after the order’s signing, saying “As we continue to battle Covid-19, it’s even more critical that Americans have meaningful access to health care”.

This executive order follows former president Trump’s changes to the Affordable Care Act. In 2018, Trump shortened the ACA’s enrollment period from 92 days to 15, which caused new healthcare enrollment to drop drastically. Also notably, the Trump administration and several states attempted to kill the ACA in a case that’s still pending before the Supreme Court.

What Does Biden’s Executive Order Mean For You?

If you’re worried because you or your family don’t have health insurance during the Coronavirus pandemic, you have another chance to secure insurance through the ACA marketplace- even if you have lost your job, stopped paying your private health insurance, or both. This will come as especially good news to those who missed because last year’s enrollment period was so short.

What If I Want Other Healthcare Options or Miss the Healthcare Enrollment Period?

If you miss the new Health Care Enrollment period or if you would like other healthcare options beside the ACA marketplace, there are still other options available for you, such as private insurance. The team at Health Plan Options Today can help you examine options such as these.

If you have any other questions, need help picking the best health insurance plan for your needs or would like to enroll in health insurance, just fill out the short form below or give us a call at 1-888-375-8879 and we’ll help you get insurance at a rate you can afford.

Need Health Insurance?

Fill out this form and our experts will contact you to help you get the right insurance for your needs.

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