Washington, DC — Today, Rep. Lucy McBath (GA-06) and Rep. Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38), a senior member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, are announcing that starting now, Thursday, July 1st, 2021, Americans who receive unemployment benefits during this public health crisis may have access to more affordable plans through HealthCare.gov. Through their bill included in the American Rescue Plan, Americans who received or were approved for unemployment compensation in 2021 can apply for lower-cost plans starting today. McBath and Sánchez introduced H.R.942, the Pandemic Health Care Improvement Act, earlier this year. An average of 3 out of 5 eligible uninsured Americans can access $0 plans and an average of 4 out of 5 current HealthCare.gov consumers will be able to find a plan for $10 or less per month.
“Hard-working Americans are facing severe economic challenges due to this pandemic, and we ought to help them get the affordable, quality health coverage they deserve. I’m proud to see our legislation included in these historic relief efforts so we can expand benefits to those most affected by this public health crisis,” said McBath. “As a two-time breast cancer survivor, access to quality health care is very personal to me, and I want to thank Congresswoman Sánchez for joining me as we continue our work to make care more affordable for the American people, improve health coverage across the country, and strengthen protections for all those who live with pre-existing conditions.”
“This pandemic impacted every single one of us, but it turned life upside down for people who found themselves out of work as a result. Americans across the country suddenly lost or were unable to afford their health insurance due to circumstances outside of their own control,” said Sánchez. “Starting this month, those receiving unemployment benefits may receive new financial assistance so they can access quality, affordable health care. I am proud to have worked with Congresswoman McBath to deliver this assistance to Americans most in need. No one should be left without healthcare – especially as we work to fully recover from this pandemic and get back to normal.”
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis have caused devastating mass layoffs and major adjustments to the workforce. The Department of Labor received more than three-quarters of a million initial claims for unemployment aid in the final week of January, according to recent figures, and the nation has lost nearly 10 million jobs since before the pandemic.
The legislation amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to apply a premium tax credit for those who are unemployed in 2021. The premium tax credit – also known as PTC – is a refundable credit that helps eligible individuals and families cover the premiums for their health insurance purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace. When an individual enrolls in Marketplace insurance, they can choose to have the Marketplace compute an estimated credit that is paid to the insurance company to lower what they pay for monthly premiums (advance payments of the premium tax credit, or APTC) or to get all of the benefit of the credit when they file their tax return for the year.
Additionally, Americans can continue to apply for coverage, compare plan offerings, or learn if they qualify for more affordable premiums by visiting HealthCare.gov through August 15.