CUMBERLAND — Maryland Health Connection announced reductions in the health plan costs that reflect additional financial help available through the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

“This relief will help lower the costs many Maryland families would otherwise pay for coverage,” said Gov. Larry Hogan. “We are proud to offer such high quality health insurance options, now with additional savings, to keep Marylanders safe and healthy, especially as we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Many people who previously did not qualify for financial help for private insurance due to higher income will now be eligible.

Many who received federal tax credits will now be eligible for additional savings, in some cases hundreds of dollars a month.

Unemployed workers may qualify for health plans for just a few dollars a month and COBRA coverage is free for laid-off workers through Sept. 30.

“The strength and agility of our technology and consumer assistance network enabled us to make the benefits of the American Rescue Plan Act available to Marylanders swiftly,” said Michele Eberle, executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. “Providing additional relief to families getting back on their feet after a difficult year was our primary goal.”

Before this landmark expansion, those with income above roughly $50,000 for an individual and $100,000 for a family of four were not able to receive savings. Now no household pays more than 8.5% of its income toward health insurance premiums. This will help to relieve the burden for middle-income families.

Many individuals and families will see bigger discounts on their monthly premiums in the form of increased tax credits. The law increases premium tax credits for all income brackets.

The Rescue Plan Act provides nearly free coverage for those who received or are eligible to receive unemployment compensation for at least one week at any time during 2021, even if they do not receive unemployment compensation now.

The federal government will pay 100% of premiums for COBRA enrollees by paying the health plan directly. This COBRA subsidy will end Sept. 30. Those who did not enroll in COBRA coverage during their 60-day window can still elect to receive COBRA if they are within their 18-month eligibility.

New consumers can enroll at or through the free “Enroll MHC” mobile app. Maryland Health Connection has a special enrollment period open until Aug. 15 for uninsured residents to enroll in a private plan. Enrollment in Medicaid is available all year.

Free help is available by calling 855-642-8572.

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