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DICKERSON INDIVIDUAL UPDATES
3 Million People Can Benefit: American Rescue Plan Provides Big Savings if You Have Covered California Health Plans
Answers to some common questions about the new health care provisions in the American Rescue Plan are below.
More money for more people equals more and better health insurance coverage for millions of Californians and consumers nationwide — especially vital during this age of COVID-19.
That’s the upshot of President Joe Biden’s recently passed $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, with health care provisions containing new and expanded financial help to benefit an estimated 3 million Californians, among the 25 million Americans who qualify. The new financial help will greatly reduce monthly health care costs, making health care coverage more affordable and generating savings of hundreds of dollars each month.
Covered California is poised to take a leadership role in ensuring that consumers take full advantage of this unique opportunity that expands the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and reap the benefits of these new health care funds.
Q: Who benefits from the American Rescue Plan’s health care provisions?
A: There are three key categories of Californians who can benefit from the new health care provisions in the American Rescue Plan. They are:
- Individuals who are currently uninsured and are eligible for the new financial help through Covered California, with many qualifying for $1 dollar health plans.
- Individuals who are currently have health coverage directly through an insurer outside of Covered California and are now eligible for financial help for the first time. These consumers may be able to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars by switching to the same or similar health coverage through Covered California.
- Individuals who are currently insured in Covered California health plans and are now eligible for more financial help.
An estimated 1.2 million currently uninsured Californians can get health coverage that is more affordable than ever before. The American Rescue Plan reduces consumers’ monthly health coverage costs so that no one will have to pay more than 8.5 percent of their household income on health care premiums. The deals don’t stop there. About 1.4 million consumers who are already enrolled through Covered California will get even more financial assistance. These consumers will see their monthly premiums decrease by an average of $119 per household per month. Another 430,000 Californians who are insured directly through a health insurance company and are not now getting financial help can see dramatic savings if they switch to Covered California health plans.
Q: When will the new financial help and savings be available?
A: Covered California is opening a new special-enrollment period on April 12 that runs through December 31, 2021, and consumers can see savings reflected on their monthly health care bills as soon as May or June if they enroll by April 30.
Q: What do I need to do to get these savings?
A: Existing consumers in California do not need to take any action since Covered California will automatically apply the savings to their accounts. They will see lower health care bills starting in May or June.
Those who currently don’t have health coverage through Covered California can enroll through December 31, 2021 to benefit from this round of new financial help. This includes those consumers who currently are insured through an insurer outside of Covered California and are now eligible to get financial assistance for the first time and switch to more affordable plans.
How long will my health care premium costs stay this low?
The reduced health care premiums under the American Rescue Plan will remain in place for all of 2021 and all of 2022, unless Congress extends or makes these provisions permanent.
Q. What are some other benefits of having Covered California health plans?
A: Covered California health plans cover all COVID-19 vaccinations and testing, as well as any medical treatment necessary due to COVID-19 at no charge or minimal co-payments. In addition, all Covered California health plans must offer essential benefits under the Affordable Care Act that range from maternity care and hospitalizations to preventive and mental health care. Free preventive health care includes annual checkups with your doctor and screenings for diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure.
Q: If you have low household income or no income at all, can you still get health coverage?
A: Yes, you can enroll in quality health plans at no cost or very low cost through California’s Medi-Cal program, if you have lower incomes. Medi-Cal enrollment is year-round.
Q: How do you enroll in Covered California or Medi-Cal?
A: Covered California will launch a new “Shop and Compare” tool on April 12 on CoveredCA.com that will allow consumers to easily see exactly how they will benefit from the new law. People will be able to see how much new financial help they are eligible for in just a few minutes by entering their ZIP code, household income and the ages of the people in the household.
Those interested in learning more about their health coverage options can also:
- Visit www.CoveredCA.com.
- Get local help with 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
- You can view Covered California’s latest news release on the health care provisions in the American Rescue plan and their impact on California here.
DICKERSON INDUSTRY NEWS UPDATES
Sanders pushes Medicare expansion in Dems’ next big bill
Bernie Sanders wants to make sweeping changes to Medicare and prescription drug policy — and evade the filibuster to do it. The Vermont Independent is urging Democrats to force Medicare to enter into negotiations with drug companies and use that revenue to pay for a huge expansion of the entitlement program. Sanders, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, is aiming to lower Medicare’s eligibility age from 65 to 55 or 60 years old and expand the program to cover dental work, glasses and eye surgeries as well as hearing aids. Click here for the whole story.
Under New Cost-Cutting Medicare Rule, Same Surgery, Same Place, Different Bill
A Trump administration Medicare rule will push some hospital patients into a Catch-22: The government says several hundred procedures no longer need to be done in a hospital, but it did not approve them to be performed elsewhere. So patients will still need to use a hospital while not officially admitted — and may be charged more out-of-pocket for the care. Click here for the whole story.
COVID-19 pandemic fuels telehealth expansion
It may be months yet before the COVID-19 pandemic recedes, but already it’s creating lasting changes in health care, with more patients using computers, tablets and phones to talk with doctors, nurses and therapists. The use of electronic devices in patient care, known as telehealth, has long held promise as the next big thing in the industry, but not until the coronavirus hit, raising a host of safety concerns, did it become commonplace. Click here for the whole story.
Op-ed: Telephone visits with doctors work. Don’t roll them back…
Clinician’s experience during the pandemic has shown them that putting telephone visits on equal benefit footing has dramatically expanded access to care without compromising quality. Click here for the whole piece.