Pennsylvania residents who need health insurance now have until Aug. 15 to shop for plans through the online insurance marketplace Pennie.
The marketplace extended its special COVID-19 enrollment period after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced plans to keep the federal marketplace, healthcare.gov, open until Aug. 15.
New Jersey has not yet decided whether to extend its enrollment period. The state’s marketplace, Get Covered NJ, is currently open for a special COVID-19 enrollment period through May 15.
The coronavirus stimulus package included extra help for people who have lost health insurance during the pandemic:
There is no longer a cap on who is eligible for the marketplace’s income-based tax credits, which help reduce monthly premium costs. Previously only people whose household income was under 400% of federal poverty level (about $51,000 for an individual) could qualify for a tax credit. Now, anyone can get a tax credit.
The size of tax credits has increased under the federal relief package for both new and existing marketplace customers. Tax credits vary by income and ensure no one spends more than 8.5% of their income on a marketplace plan.
People who are eligible for COBRA health insurance after being laid off from a job or having their hours reduced due to the pandemic are now eligible for a federal subsidy that will cover the entire cost of their COBRA premium.
The special enrollment period is not exclusive to people who lost coverage during the pandemic — anyone can sign up. People who already selected a marketplace health plan for 2021 can also return to the marketplace if they would like to change their plan.