The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), also called the COVID-19 stimulus package, is a nearly $2 trillion economic stimulus bill signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021. It is intended to speed up economic recovery and reduce the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Rescue Plan Act includes key changes to make health coverage more affordable by:
Some other changes include:
Effective April 1, 2021, pursuant to the Rescue Plan, Maryland Health Connection has removed the income limit on premium subsidies, increased subsidies for lower income households, implemented the special rule for unemployment households, and automatically redetermined more than half of current enrollees for higher benefit amounts. In addition, the Coronavirus Special Enrollment Period has been extended to Aug. 15, 2021, so that Marylanders have an opportunity to take advantage of these lower costs for an extended period outside of the annual open enrollment period.
The health care provisions in the American Rescue Plan Act are temporary for now – the maximum subsidy rule for households with unemployment recipients is for 2021 only, and the increased premium subsidies and removal of the income limit are effective only for 2021 and 2022. However, Congress and the Biden administration could make these changes permanent. Stay tuned!