3 million Texans eligible for zero-dollar healthcare plans

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FILE – This file image provided by U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service shows the website for HealthCare.gov. Many laid-off workers who lost health insurance in the coronavirus shutdown soon face the first deadlines to qualify for fallback coverage under the Affordable Care Act. (U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service via AP, File)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KETK) – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services secretary Xavier Becerra announced that 3 million Texans are eligible for zero-dollar plans through HealthCare.gov.

Eligible people can enroll in Marketplace health coverage until Aug. 15.

Becerra said that the HHS is delivering lower health care costs to more Texans because he believes everyone deserves access to quality, affordable healthcare.

“Today, help is here – and people who are eligible for tax credits can start saving money on their health insurance premiums thanks to the American Rescue Plan,” Becerra said. “We have already seen more than half a million Americans nationwide gain quality affordable health care coverage through President Biden’s Special Enrollment Period.”

The HHS is encouraging uninsured Texans and current Marketplace enrollees to visit HealthCare.gov to see if they qualify for financial assistance to purchase affordable health coverage.

THE AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN

These plans are available as a result of the American Rescue Plan signed by President Joe Biden on March 11. About 1.1 million current enrollees and 1.9 million uninsured adults can sign up for health coverage with no monthly premiums.

The American Rescue Plan made the most recent $1,400 stimulus checks possible. It provided extended emergency unemployment benefits, stimulus money, piles of spending for COVID-19 vaccines and testing and more.

It also increased tax credits for millions of consumers, reducing premiums and giving expanded access to healthcare. More than 12.9 million Americans who currently lack health insurance and any current enrollees can receive additional financial support to find the coverage best suited to them.

The American Rescue plan is one of the largest stimulus measures in American history, costing $1.9 trillion.

BY THE NUMBERS

More than 500,000 Americans have already signed up for health coverage on HealthCare.gov under the Special Enrollment Period. Among consumers requesting financial assistance, 41% report being at or slightly above the federal poverty level, compared to 38% in 2020 and 33% in 2019.

Nearly 15 million Americans without health insurance and many current enrollees are eligible to receive additional financial support in getting Marketplace coverage as part of the American Rescue Plan.

Recent reports show gains in enrollment among historically uninsured communities, including Black consumers and those near the poverty level.

According to HHS, because of the American Rescue Plan, many premiums will now decrease, on average, by $50 per person per month and $85 per policy per month.

An average of 4 out of 5 current HealthCare.gov consumers will be able to find a plan for $10 or less per month after advance payments of premium tax credits.

The DHHS also announced an additional $50 million in advertising to bolster the Special Enrollment Period outreach campaign. The campaign will run through Aug. 15.

HOW TO SEE IF YOU QUALIFY AND ENROLL

Those who want to enroll in coverage and see if they qualify for more affordable premiums can visit HealthCare.gov or CuidadoDeSalud.gov to view 2021 plans and prices and, if eligible, enroll in a plan that best meets their needs.

Additionally, consumers can call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596, which provides assistance in over 150 languages. TTY users can call 1-855-889-4325. Consumers can also find a local assister or agent/broker in their area by visiting this website and entering their zip code.

There are several agents/brokers throughout East Texas, and their contact info can be found through the search on the healthcare.gov website.

Enrollment is open past the yearly Open Enrollment Period because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to HHS, 565,200 uninsured Texans are newly eligible for tax credits.

FOR CURRENT ENROLLEES

People currently enrolled should review their application, make any changes needed to their current information and select a plan (or reselect the current plan) and submit their application.

Those who take action in April and confirm updated savings on their plan will start receiving the savings and lower costs starting with their May 1 premiums.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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