New Health Insurance Grants Available For Uninsured Californians

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If there ever was a time to be without health insurance, it wasn’t during the coronavirus pandemic. But Leigh Broadway lost the comfortable salary and insurance coverage of her job when she left her employer in 2008 to care for her ailing father.

She had enough savings to purchase health insurance for a few years, but could no longer afford it. Her temporary jobs were paid less than what she had earned as a bank vice president, but gave her the flexibility to help her father cope with multiple health issues and growing dementia.

Last summer, she had been two years without coverage, and the threat of unforeseen medical bills was agonizing.

“I’m healthy. I haven’t had a cold or the flu for probably 20 years,” says Broadway of Los Angeles County. “But I’m 63 now and I don’t think he is. not safe to be without insurance. ”

Covered California, the state’s marketplace for health plans under the Federal Affordable Care Act, now offers help to residents like her.

The national coronavirus relief program adopted earlier this year has increased and extended premium subsidies for people without employment-based coverage who purchase private insurance through exchanges like Covered California.

Many factors affect the exact amount of assistance each person receives, such as the type of insurance plan chosen. Broadway bought coverage for $ 144 per month, compared to $ 958 without the subsidy.

Extended registration deadline

Up to 1.5 million uninsured residents between the ages of 50 and 64 could have access to covered health insurance in California or pay less thanks to the new subsidies, according to an AARP study.

Affordability of health care has been particularly threatened for those aged 50 to 64, who are generally not eligible for Medicare and often struggle to re-enter the workforce after losing their jobs and their insurance, says Luis Campillo, director of AARP California in Los Angèle. He says many residents are unaware of the new aid.

Federal relief, which is part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, reduces premiums for those who qualify. Covered California has extended the deadline for purchasing insurance to December 31, Campillo notes.

“Maybe they weren’t even looking for a blanket,” thinking it was unaffordable, he said.

The COVID-19 pandemic means there is still a need for help, said James Scullary, spokesperson for Covered California. “California has really looked into making the Affordable Care Act available and promoting it,” he says, including extending the registration period.

AARP California spreads the word about extended enrollment and subsidized bonuses, via social media and at https://states.aarp.org/california/aca-insurance-enrollment. For more information on telephone town halls on the subject, see https://states.aarp.org/california/.

The American Rescue Plan caps insurance expenses at 8.5% of household income, although the California grant is even more generous in some cases.

In addition to the uninsured, thousands of people already enrolled through Covered California can benefit from new help to reduce their premiums.

Subsidy changes could also reduce racial and ethnic disparities. Among Californians aged 50 to 64, only 4.9% of whites do not have health care coverage, while 16% of Hispanics and 6.7% of blacks in this age group do not. insured, according to the AARP Public Policy Institute.

Insurance brings peace of mind to Broadway: “It’s security just in case. Because who knows? You can be healthy all your life and then things can happen.

For more information, see https://states.aarp.org/california/aca-insurance-enrollment Where couvertureca.com.

Rita beamish is a writer living in San Mateo, California.

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