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Sharp Health News

New financial help is on the way

Aug. 10, 2021

Portrait of family standing outside of their home.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provides relief to individuals, businesses, health care, and state and local governments facing the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a big deal for millions of individuals and families who currently have (or who plan to sign up for) health insurance coverage through a qualified health plan, such as the plans offered through Covered California™. The new health care provisions will ensure that everyone who is eligible for financial help will pay no more than 8.5% of their income on their health care premiums.

"For some Californians this means they will finally be able to afford health care coverage and get the protection and peace of mind they need in the middle of a health crisis," says Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California.

According to a recent analysis, an estimated 25 million Americans, including 3 million Californians, could potentially benefit from the expanded premium assistance. To help give uninsured and unsubsidized Californians time to sign up for coverage, Covered California launched a new special enrollment period that runs through the end of the year.

"If you already have health insurance through a qualified health plan, you don't need to do anything," explains Don Truong, director of sales at Sharp Health Plan. "Most people can expect to see a much lower bill, and that includes people who haven't qualified for financial help in the past, as they may now be eligible for premium assistance with the new law."

While the new special enrollment period will last through the end of 2021, uninsured individuals and families are urged to act quickly so they can benefit from the financial help.

Find out if you qualify for new premium assistance
Covered California recently launched a new savings calculator tool that allows consumers to check if they qualify for premium assistance under the American Rescue Plan Act.

"Thanks to the new premium subsidies, Sharp Health Plan is offering plans through Covered California as affordable as $1 a month, or $100 a month for a family of four," says Truong. "Our team is all hands on deck to get the word out. Some folks could even save hundreds of dollars every month. If you never thought you could afford health insurance, now's the time to rethink it and take advantage of the new financial help."

Unemployment recipients may also qualify for assistance
A provision in the American Rescue Plan Act allows eligible individuals who received unemployment benefits in 2021 to enroll in coverage through Covered California for as low as $1 per month.

Californians who filed for unemployment benefits at any time during 2021 can check their eligibility with Covered California's quick calculator, and must be enrolled on-exchange to qualify. Here's how it works:

  • Covered California will automatically apply the premium subsidy for individuals who qualify for assistance.
  • Covered California and the Employment Development Department (EDD) will contact eligible unemployment recipients who do not have health insurance with Covered California. After applying, new coverage will begin on the first day of the next month.
For advice from local experts, or for assistance determining if you qualify for premium assistance, Sharp Health Plan's certified enrollment specialists are also available to help. They can be reached by email or by phone at 1-858-499-8211.

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