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health as it happens

For Some, ACA Health Plans Could Be Cheaper—or Even Free - The Wall Street Journal

Whether you have lost your health insurance or simply want a better deal on coverage, here is some good news: Under a Covid-19 stimulus bill Congress passed in March, many people who buy Affordable Care Act plans can qualify for premiums that are cheaper—or even free.

It is important to act fast because the window for most people to enroll for 2021 closes Aug. 15, said Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow specializing in private health insurance at the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation.

Here are details on who is eligible for premium assistance, how the assistance works and what to consider before switching policies.

What has changed?

The stimulus bill increases premium subsidies in 2021 and 2022 in plans sold by the government-run marketplaces the ACA created. Some people, including those who received unemployment insurance this year, can get subsidies that may entirely eliminate their premiums.

For this year and next, the law also does away with a previous income limit on premium assistance, paving the way for some people with incomes as high as $149,000 to benefit.