Observer Group Newspapers of Southern California Inc.

Via Covered California News

California is making history through the American Rescue Plan by helping more people get quality health insurance at prices that have never been lower. The landmark pandemic-fighting law provides new and expanded financial assistance to help more people get covered and stay covered, and now it is helping Californians who recently lost their jobs.

A provision of the American Rescue Plan enables hundreds of thousands of people to get brand-name health insurance through Covered California, with companies like Kaiser Permanente and Blue Shield, for just $1 a month if they or their spouse received unemployment insurance benefits at any time in 2021.

“The help for those who received unemployment benefits is big and not tied to their income — and the potential of a great deal is there for every Californian who needs health insurance,” Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said. “If you’re uninsured you should check your options, because hundreds of thousands are qualifying for the best coverage we offer for as little as $1 per month, while others are seeing reductions of hundreds of dollars per month on the plan they’ve already chosen.”

And that’s what Sheila of Indio did. Sheila is a current Covered California enrollee who lost her job as a college professor during the COVID-19 pandemic. When she consulted with her insurance agent, Sheila discovered that she and her daughter now qualified for a Covered California Silver 94 plan, and their $221 monthly premium would be dropping to just $1 for the rest of 2021.

“We were so excited that’s even a thing. My first thought was, ‘I’m sure not me,’” Sheila told Covered California. “We spoke yesterday and heard that it would be me. I was floored; we were both astonished.”

The most recent data from the state’s Employment Development Department (EDD) shows that 569,000 Californians filed unemployment insurance claims in May 2021 alone. Currently, about 10 percent of Covered California’s enrollees — approximately 141,000 — have indicated they have received unemployment insurance benefits this year, meaning thousands more could be eligible for this new benefit. Covered California has partnered with EDD to inform unemployment insurance recipients through their online accounts of the new financial help available to reduce their monthly health care costs.

“The American Rescue Plan is making coverage more affordable than ever, and more and more Californians are getting high-quality coverage for just a dollar,” Lee said. “The sooner you sign up, the sooner you can start saving and be covered. We do not want anyone to be uninsured or leave money on the table.”

By law, you can only get this new financial help through the American Rescue Plan by enrolling in one of the 11 name-brand health plans offered by Covered California, which are: Blue Shield, Health Net, Kaiser Permanente, Anthem BlueCross, Balance by CCHP, L.A. Care Health Plan, Molina Healthcare, Oscar, Sharp Health Plan, Valley Health Plan and Western Health Advantage.

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It was also recently announced that a record 1.6 million people have enrolled in a health plan through Covered California, as thousands of consumers sign up for coverage due to the lower monthly premiums provided by the American Rescue Plan. The announcement comes just days after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act.

“It is time to stop making health coverage a political fight that has delayed progress and injected unneeded uncertainty into the lives of millions of Americans,” Lee said. “The law is here to stay, and our attention should be on effectively improving the health of Americans by making coverage more affordable, improving health care, and addressing issues of health equity and disparities.”

Consumers Can Quickly Find Out If They Are Eligible

Consumers can check their eligibility for big savings on their monthly health care costs — whether or not they have received unemployment insurance — by using Covered California’s quick calculator. They will need to input their household income, ZIP code, their household size and the age of each family member and note whether they received unemployment benefits. Once completed, they will see how affordable a health plan can be in their local area and the cost of their monthly premium.

Those interested in learning more about their health coverage options through Covered California and Medi-Cal can also: · Visit www.CoveredCA.com. · Get local help and free and confidential assistance, in a variety of languages, from a certified enroller. · Have a certified enroller call them and help them for free.

· Call Covered California at (800) 300-1506.