Why the Stimulus Package Is a Game Changer for Health Insurance
Lauren Lewthwaite Last Updated On: June 23, 2022

Here’s How the Stimulus Package Can Lower Your Health Insurance Costs

Stimulus Package for health insurance

Stimulus checks came as a welcome relief to many Americans, but what many might not have realized is that the stimulus package was also designed to help them with their health insurance costs. 

Keep reading to find out how the stimulus package may lower your health insurance costs and get you the coverage you need, maybe now more than ever. 

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Why Stimulus Package Is Game Changer for Health Insurance

One of the goals of the stimulus package was to temporarily help Americans with their health insurance costs. This goal was twofold:

  1. Lower the ACA (Affordable Care Act) marketplace premiums for two years
  2. Covering COBRA payments through September 2021

With these two priorities, Americans were expected to save money on health insurance costs at a time when many were being laid off, had their hours slashed, and more. 

Lowered ACA Marketplace Premiums

The ACA marketplace is where Americans can access health insurance plans and choose the plan that best fits their needs. Usually, your household income would need to fall below 400% of the federal poverty level in order to qualify for ACA marketplace assistance. 

But one of the reasons why the stimulus package is a game changer for health insurance is that it temporarily ended income caps for assistance. Now, plan members can pay up to 8.5% of their income on plan premiums, down from the 9.83% of household income for those who qualified for tax credits. This could save Americans up to $50 per person per month, or $85 per policy per month, depending on their situation.

An open enrollment period was also launched, to give people a chance to find coverage if they lost their jobs or needed a new plan. 

COBRA Premium Coverage

The second reason why the stimulus package is a game changer for health insurance is that COBRA payments were covered 100% through September 2021. COBRA is a program that allows you to keep your employer’s health insurance plan for 18 months (or longer, if you qualify) after losing your job or having your hours cut to a point where you no longer qualify for your employer’s health insurance plan. 

It’s important to note that after you quit or lose your job, you now become responsible for the entire insurance premium instead of your employer paying part of the premium. This sudden higher cost can be difficult, especially if you lost your job unexpectedly. 

With the stimulus package, COBRA premiums were 100% covered through September 2021, which came as a huge relief to many families and allowed them to receive the coverage they needed. 

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Saving on Health Insurance Costs

It’s clear why the stimulus package is a game changer for health insurance costs, but it’s not the only way to manage your insurance costs. If you’re looking to save on health insurance, you have options:

  • Shop around for insurance and compare plans and quotes
  • Ask for a discount from bundling multiple insurance policies with one provider
  • Review your plan annually to ensure it’s still the right fit for you
  • Check if your healthcare costs are tax-deductible
  • Find out if you qualify for government assistance

Health insurance can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be more than you afford. A little bit of research and planning can help put more money back in your pocket each month.

The Bottom Line

The stimulus package was welcome news to Americans, and the health insurance savings were a relief for many in uncertain times. While it’s unclear if savings will continue past the two-year mark or not, there are other ways you can keep your health insurance costs affordable in the meantime.  

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Lauren LewthwaiteLauren Lewthwaite has been freelance writing for almost five years writing content that ranges from health to insurance and everything in between. Lauren is also a trained translator in French and English and is a dog-mom to an adorable Australian Shepherd.