This week is Disability Week of Action for the COVID Special Enrollment Period (SEP). Monday was the 31st Anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and we kicked off the week by posting a blog introducing you to the week as an opportunity to highlight enrollment for people with disabilities. Yesterday, we participated in a Twitter chat with Young Invincibles entitled “Getting Covered: The Value of Health Coverage for People with Health Care Needs.” Today, we want to look at what the COVID SEP and coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) means for people with disabilities.
With the economic uncertainty which the COVID pandemic has caused, CMS opened a COVID SEP in February which remains open through August 15. The COVID SEP only affects people who live in states that are on the federally facilitated marketplace (healthcare.gov). However, many State-Based Marketplaces (SBMs) also have ongoing COVID SEPs as well. For a full list of SBMs who COVID SEPs, check out our blog post States Extend COVID SEP. If you want to understand how the COVID SEP is different than other SEPs, check out our blog post How is the COVID SEP Different?
In addition to the opportunity to enroll that the COVID SEP represents, there are also additional benefits available to people with disabilities and others who are uninsured as a result of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). As a result of ARPA, individuals with incomes below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) are eligible for zero premium plans – meaning that the premiums for some plans are fully subsidized by the tax credits available. Additionally, ARPA provides additional subsidies for those above 400% of FPL to ensure that they are not paying premiums that represent more than 8.5% of their household income. Finally, for those that lost their employer-based coverage and are eligible for coverage through COBRA, ARPA provides full subsidies for premiums to pay for coverage through COBRA from April 1 through September 30, 2021.
As a result of all these additional subsidies, coverage through the ACA has never been more affordable and individuals with disabilities who previously shopped for coverage through the ACA marketplace and found the premiums unaffordable, should revisit their options at healthcare.gov. If you want to read more about how the ARPA has affected coverage and affordability in the ACA marketplace, check out the FAQ from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Please continue to follow us as we progress through Disability Week of Action. Tomorrow we will be hosting a Facebook live event. This event will be conducted with Doctors for America and Young Invincibles and will discuss the fact that people with disabilities and pre-existing conditions have unique needs when it comes to health coverage and care. To participate, join us on the AAHD Facebook page.