Uninsured Texans Have Two Weeks to Take Advantage of Special ACA Enrollment
July 28, 2021
By: Jamie Dudensing
In response to the pandemic, the Biden Administration created a special enrollment period for Americans that started on July 1 and runs through August 15. This gives consumers additional time to shop for coverage and to take advantage of new savings through the American Rescue Plan.
The enrollment opportunity could be an especially good deal for uninsured Texans. The ACA marketplace is stronger and more affordable than ever for residents of the Lone Star State — many may be surprised at how affordable a marketplace plan may be.
An estimated 1.4 million uninsured Texans qualify for a bronze-level marketplace plan at no cost and many more qualify for subsidized plans. Even without subsidies, plans available in Texas rank below the national average in cost (18th lowest premiums).
As part of the pandemic response, Congress eliminated the “subsidy cliff,” which means many who previously made too much to qualify for a subsidy now can receive subsidies to limit the cost of a benchmark plan to 8.5% of income. Congress could make relief for this subsidy cliff permanent, a move strongly supported by the Biden Administration.
The special enrollment period is especially helpful to those who lost health coverage due to job loss during the pandemic. Consumers who received or were determined eligible to receive unemployment compensation for any week during 2021 may be able to get another increase in savings when enrolling in new Marketplace coverage or updating their existing enrollment. Estimates show more than 600,000 Texans lost health insurance due to job loss at the height of the pandemic.
Texans are not only seeing reduced costs for ACA plans but also increased choice. The state is the fifth most competitive with 10 total insurers in the marketplace and 86% of Texans in counties covered by three or more insurers.
The options for Texans in the ACA marketplace look better than ever, but the special enrollment period ends soon. While applications may be made through August 15, waiting until the last minute could cause issues or delays. Texans wanting to take advantage of this special enrollment period should act as soon as possible.
Those who want to enroll and see if they qualify for financial help should visit HealthCare.gov or CuidadoDeSalud.gov to view 2021 plans and prices. They may also call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. Additionally, consumers can find a local agent or broker in their area by visiting https://localhelp.healthcare.gov.