Sign Up By August 15 to Get Free Health Insurance Through the American Families Stimulus Package

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Americans struggling to afford health care were thrown a lifeline thanks to an extension for part of the American Families Plan, which now provides free health insurance to millions of people affected by unemployment through the end of the year. Participants need to sign up by Aug. 15, which is when the current open enrollment period ends.

See: Fourth Stimulus Checks Are Coming From These States — Is Yours on the List?
Find: Stimulus Update: What Every Parent Needs To Know About the Child Tax Credit Deadline

The free plans became available on July 1. There are no income limits to qualify, but you must have either received or been approved for unemployment benefits during 2021 to be eligible. The plan will be administered through HealthCare.gov, which is the marketplace established under the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

The $0 monthly premiums are available under the ACA’s “silver” plans. That’s a big savings, considering that this year’s typical Obamacare premium is $452 a month, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The free health plans are provided by private insurers and also feature low or no copayments or deductibles.

“We are doing everything we can to remove financial barriers to comprehensive health care,” Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, director of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said in a statement.

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Americans who are uninsured and have received unemployment compensation this year should register that information on HealthCare.gov. After that, they can shop for a free plan on the site. The ACA is waiving the typical income limits needed for Obamacare coverage. However, you might not qualify if you or your spouse can get insurance from an employer or through Medicare or Medicaid.

See: Stimulus Update: New Bill Proposes Expansion of Worker Benefits on the Heels of Child Tax Credits and COVID Relief Checks
Find: 2.2. Million More Stimulus Checks Just Got Sent Out — Here’s Who Got Them

The program comes at an opportune time for many Americans who are still struggling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As previously reported by GOBankingRates, about 15% of U.S. adults ages 18 to 64 don’t have health insurance. The most common reason cited for being uninsured was that health insurance coverage is too expensive.

Meanwhile, many Americans have taken advantage of the Biden Administration’s decision to launch a special open enrollment period for Obamacare coverage. Nearly 1 million people signed up during the first 10 weeks of the special period, GOBankingRates reported in May. Of the new enrollees, almost half purchased coverage in April after Congress added billions of dollars in subsidies in the latest stimulus package.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.

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