FREE AND LOW-COST HEALTH INSURANCE FOR ELIGIBLE VERMONTERS WHO QUALIFIED FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS IN 2021
Are there extra benefits for people who got unemployment benefits in 2021?
The American Rescue Plan Act offers extra tax credits for eligible people who got unemployment benefits in 2021 and get insurance through a health insurance marketplace. Vermont Health Connect is Vermont’s health insurance marketplace.
If you, or someone in your household, got unemployment benefits at any time in 2021 and are eligible for premium tax credits, you can get maximum financial help, no matter how much money you earn. See details for yourself in the Plan Comparison Tool.
Can I get financial help if I was eligible for unemployment benefits earlier in 2021 but don’t get them now?
Yes. You may qualify for financial help through Vermont Health Connect if you, or anyone in your household, got unemployment benefits for at least one week in 2021. You also may qualify if you applied for unemployment benefits through the Vermont Department of Labor and were found eligible for at least one week. Even if you never filled out another claim or received a payment, you may still qualify for low-cost health insurance.
You do not have to get unemployment benefits at the time when you apply for health insurance to qualify for financial help. For example, if you were found eligible for unemployment benefits in January 2021, you can get maximum financial help because you qualified for unemployment benefits for at least one week in 2021. Just be sure to tell Vermont Health Connect you got unemployment benefits. To get help paying for health insurance, you must enroll through Vermont Health Connect.
What type of unemployment benefits qualify?
All types of unemployment benefits qualify. This includes Regular Unemployment Compensation, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, Extended Unemployment Compensation, and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
I get health insurance through my spouse’s job. Can I get financial help?
Probably not. You can’t get financial help through Vermont Health Connect if you have an offer of affordable job-based insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare. To find out if your job-based coverage is affordable by federal standards, visit the Affordability Estimator.
How long will the extra premium tax credits last for people who got unemployment benefits in 2021?
Extra financial help for people who got unemployment benefits will expire December 31, 2021 unless Congress extends it. However, the American Rescue Plan Act’s other expanded premium tax credits will continue throughout 2022. Therefore, most people who qualify for this unemployment benefit will find marketplace plans that cost less in 2022 than they did in 2020 and prior years.
I’m worried about out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, co-payments, and co-insurance. Will this unemployment benefit protect me from those costs?
Yes, if you enroll in an Enhanced Silver 94 plan with cost-sharing reductions. An Enhanced Silver 94 plan is part of the extra financial help you can get if you got unemployment benefits in 2021. To get one, you must enroll in a silver level plan through Vermont Health Connect.
Out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance are also known as “cost-sharing.” Health insurance marketplaces offer a form of financial help known as “cost-sharing reductions.” This means you get lower deductibles, lower co-pays, and lower co-insurance rates than with regular silver plans. You can’t get these savings if you enroll in a bronze, gold or platinum level plan. Learn more about Enhanced Silver plans.
See details for yourself in the Plan Comparison Tool.
Do I have to enroll in a silver plan to get financial help with my monthly premiums?
No, you can use your financial help on any platinum, gold, silver, or bronze plan when you enroll through the health insurance marketplace, Vermont Health Connect. However, if you check out the Plan Comparison Tool, you’ll see that Enhanced Silver 94 plans typically offer the lowest total costs of any health plans, so people who qualify may find silver plans to be the best match for their financial and medical needs.
All metal level plans have the same covered services and benefits. The only difference is how you pay for those services through your monthly premium and out-of-pocket costs.
With an Enhanced Silver 94 plan, you can choose eight different silver plan options that have low monthly premiums or no monthly premium at all (after your financial help). With Enhanced SiIver 94 plan, you get more financial help to lower your deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance. If you enroll in platinum, gold, or bronze plan, the regular deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance apply.
See for yourself how Enhanced Silver 94 plans stack up against gold and platinum plans in the Plan Comparison Tool.
I get health insurance directly from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont or MVP Health Care®. Can I get financial help?
No. To get financial help you must enroll through the marketplace, Vermont Health Connect. Fortunately, it’s easy to transfer your plan..
When you transfer your plan to Vermont Health Connect, you will keep the same health plan with the same insurance company. Any payments you’ve already made toward your deductible and maximum out-of-pocket limits will transfer with you—so there’s nothing to lose.
Group health plans can’t be transferred. You can’t get premium tax credits if you have an offer of affordable job-based insurance. To see if the federal government considers your job-based insurance affordable, visit the Affordability Estimator.
I am unemployed but haven’t applied for unemployment benefits. What do I do?
If you become unemployed and have worked in Vermont anytime in the past 18 months, you may be eligible to receive unemployment insurance. Establish your initial claim by calling the Vermont Department of Labor’s full-service Unemployment Insurance Claims Center at 877-214-3332. More information may be found at https://Labor.Vermont.gov/COVID19.