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Financial Help

What does the new COVID-19 special enrollment period mean for me?

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of each of us having affordable, high-quality health insurance. To help ensure that everyone can enroll in coverage, the Biden administration announced a COVID-19 special enrollment period. Even though the open enrollment period for 2021 ended on December 15, you have another chance to enroll in coverage from February 15, 2021 to May 15, 2021. You can enroll if you are uninsured, or if you’re already insured but want to change your plan.

This is a HUGE opportunity for our community to enroll in coverage that we need. But, if you miss the deadline, you could be locked out of health insurance until 2022 AND forced to pay 100% of your medical bills. It’s not worth the risk, especially when financial help is available: last year, 2 out of 3 HealthCare.gov customers could find a plan with a monthly premium of $10 or less.

Do I qualify for financial help?

You might – most people do. The amount of financial help depends on your income. You may qualify for financial help if your annual income is between about $12,000 and $51,000 (or more based on the number of people in your family). In fact, nearly 9 out of 10 people who enroll through healthcare.gov qualify for financial help, and 2 of 3 people are able to find a plan with a monthly premium of $10 or less. Learn if your income level qualifies you for savings here.

If you qualify, you will receive a tax credit that lowers the amount that you pay for insurance each month. Depending on your income, you may also qualify for cost-sharing reductions that lower the amount you pay in co-pays, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs. Learn whether you might qualify for financial help using this quick calculator.

Can I include my child when I apply for financial help?

Yes, if you claim your child on your federal taxes, you should list them on your Marketplace application, regardless of your legal relationship with the child.

Before you enroll, it is important to make sure the plan you pick covers you and your child together. This will depend on how the plan defines a “family.” You can usually find this information by looking at the “Evidence of Coverage” or the “Certificate of Coverage,” which is the full explanation of what is covered or excluded under each plan. If this information is not available, you may need to call the insurers in your state to see what type of coverage is available.

If you cannot find a plan that covers both you and your child, you may be able to enroll yourself and your child individually or check if your child is eligible for your state’s Medicaid program or Children’s Health Insurance Program. After you fill out your application, you’ll be told whether your child qualifies and notified by your state.

We encourage you to take advantage of free help (either in-person or by phone) from a trained assister to help you consider your options.

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