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American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA)

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (American Rescue Plan), passed by Congress and signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021, increased the opportunity for unprecedented numbers of Nevadans to receive subsidies, including Nevadans making over 400% of the federal poverty level. Nevada Health Link, the online health insurance marketplace operated by the state agency, the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange (Exchange), reported that more than 17,000 Nevadans benefited from premium savings during the Open Enrollment period created by the American Rescue Plan.   

The expanded subsidies under the American Rescue Plan will continue through Plan Year 2022. Open Enrollment for Plan Year 2022 begins November 1, but you can window shop as early as October 1, 2021.   

Under the American Rescue Plan no matter your circumstances, you may be able to save more money for health insurance coverage. Here are some ways Nevadans can see increased savings in their health insurance premiums for Plan Year 2022, which begins January 1, 2022:

  • Consumers who previously did not qualify for a subsidy (tax credits to help pay monthly premium costs for insurance) or not enough subsidies because their income was considered too high, may now be eligible for subsidies or increased subsidies for the first time.
  • Consumers who have a plan off-exchange may be eligible to buy a comparable plan on the Exchange for a cheaper price thanks to the expansion of subsidies.

For Nevadans impacted by COVID during Plan Year 2021, the American Rescue Plan provided the following benefits: 

  • People who lost their job and health insurance due to COVID-19 could obtain a COBRA plan at no premium (these no premium cost subsidies conclude September 30, 2021).
  • Consumers on unemployment could be eligible for a $0 premium plan.
  • Consumers who had a plan via Nevada Health Link and received subsidies may have seen an even lower premium.

COBRA - If you lost your job and health insurance coverage:

The American Rescue plan also provided COBRA subsidies for six months to Nevadans who lost their employer-sponsored health insurance coverage because they were involuntarily terminated, or hours were reduced. COBRA subsidies under the American Rescue Plan end September 30, 2021. By October 1, 2021, consumers will have to decide the following to avoid having a gap in coverage until the next plan year which begins on January 1, 2022:

  • Continue with COBRA coverage paying the full monthly premiums out of pocket
  • Enroll in a qualified health plan through Nevada Health Link. Consumers who currently are benefiting from the COBRA subsidies under the American Rescue Plan may contact Nevada Health Link, Nevada’s online health insurance marketplace operated by the Exchange, to see if they qualify for a special enrollment period.

Before deciding to terminate your COBRA coverage, please keep in mind the following:

  • Plan Year 2021 ends December 31, 2021. Consider how changing health plans mid-year would impact you.
  • Starting a new health plan mid-year would reset your deductibles and maximum out-of-pocket.
  • Any health services paid towards your deductible and maximum-out-of-pocket under your COBRA health plan would not transfer to the new health plan.
  • Contact Nevada Health Link to verify if you qualify for a special enrollment period. Visit Nevada Health Link at https://www.nevadahealthlink.com/ or call the call center at 1-800-547-2927.

COBRA background information:

The American Rescue Plan allowed Nevadans to keep their same health insurance coverage but not pay a monthly premium for six months. Nevadans who had health insurance coverage through their employer and who lost their employer-sponsored health insurance coverage because they were involuntarily terminated, or their hours were reduced could keep that same coverage with COBRA insurance without having to pay any premium from April 1 until September 30, 2021.

For more information and frequently asked questions, below are some links to resources:

 

Be aware of scammers

Any new opportunity to save Nevadans money, is also an opportunity for scammers to try to take advantage of consumers. You may receive many calls or emails from people falsely claiming they are selling you plans compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) when in reality they may be selling some other type of product like a discount medical plan or a  short-term plan which can lead to having thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills because of gaps in coverage. Here are some things to watch out for:

  •  Be careful of being  lured to websites with misleading website names that appear similar to legitimate websites.  This can be confusing for anyone not familiar with the legitimate webpages. You can only apply for a subsidized plan on Nevada Health Link: https://www.nevadahealthlink.com/.
  • Always verify the license of someone trying to sell you insurance. You can verify a license by visiting the Division’s website at https://di.nv.gov/ins/f?p=licensing:search. If someone is not licensed, it is probably a scam.
  • If you aren’t sure if a plan is ACA compliant, you can take two actions:
  • It is also important to review a plan's policy documents before purchasing the plan to ensure you are buying a product that fits your health insurance needs. The Division can help with that as all ACA compliant plans’ supporting documents like Evidence of Coverage and Schedule of Benefits are posted under each plan at https://doi.nv.gov/Health_Insurance_Rates/Rate_Review/. 

Partner Resources  

COBRA Fact sheet

Marketing Assets 

Nevada Health Link COBRA Memo