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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, increases the opportunity for unprecedented numbers of Nevadans to receive subsidies, including Nevadans making over 400% of the federal poverty level

With this new law, no matter your circumstances, you may be able to save more money for health insurance coverage. What the American Rescue Plan means for Nevadans:

  • 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 on unemployment could be eligible for a $0 premium plan.
  • 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.
  • Consumers who already have a plan via Nevada Health Link and receive subsidies can see an even lower premium.
  • People who lost their job and health insurance due to COVID-19 may now obtain a COBRA plan at no premium cost.

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

Despite health insurance coverage being vital during a health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, many Nevadans lost their job or their hours were reduced, therefore - losing their health insurance coverage.

Fortunately, there are good news if you had health insurance coverage through your employer and lost your employer-sponsored health insurance coverage because you were involuntarily terminated, or your hours were reduced. ARPA created an opportunity to keep that same coverage with COBRA insurance without having to pay any premium from April 1 until September 30, 2021. Even if you have already declined COBRA coverage or your enrollment period has expired, you may still enroll in COBRA. Your employer or benefits administration is obligated to notify you if you are eligible for this subsidized coverage by May 30, 2021, however you may not wish to wait until then to enroll in this coverage because you will miss a couple of months of subsidies. To find out more about COBRA and the available subsidies, we recommend that you contact your employer or insurance company and enroll by April 1, 2021 to receive the full benefits.

Enrolling in COBRA coverage may be beneficial because it means you would get to keep your same health insurance coverage but not pay a monthly premium for six months-but there are limitations and things to consider. This subsidized coverage is limited to six months, which means that on October 1, 2021 you may continue with COBRA but will have to pay the monthly premiums out of pocket. You could opt to cancel such coverage but would be left uninsured. At the moment there is no special enrollment period for people who cancel their COBRA coverage because of affordability issues. Even if a special enrollment period is created for people who lost their subsidized COBRA coverage, you need to 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.

 

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