Health Insurance Tax Credit Extended Through 2021 Under Biden Stimulus Package for COBRA and Obamacare (ACA) Recipients

This article was last updated on April 1

Under the now approved Biden administration’s nearly $2 trillion stimulus package, also known as the American Rescue Plan (ARP), provisions have been added to provide relief for lower income and middle class Americans to save on Health Insurance if they are out of a job, and on COBRA benefit from their employer or getting insurance via Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) through a health exchange.

While all employees can get COBRA today if they involuntarily lose a job (they just cannot quit), its very expensive as they are on the hook for the employer subsidy portion of their health insurance. This could be at least double the original premium they were paying when employed. But under the Biden relief bill, the government would pay the entire COBRA Health Insurance Premium from April 1 through Sept. 30.

However if a person gets a new job and qualifies for health insurance with the new employer they would lose eligibility for the COBRA health care relied.

The CBO estimated that a 64-year-old earning $58,000 would see monthly payments decline from $1,075 under current law to $412 because the federal government would take up much of the cost. 

Those who bought their own health insurance via a government exchange, would also get relief under the Biden ARP package through lower premiums on purchased plans; with premiums for those plans would cost no more than 8.5% of their income (MAGI). These changes would start as soon as the bill is enacted through the end of 2022 and would not require people to re-enroll to access the lower prices.

IRS Health Insurance Tax Credits

The IRS has confirmed that the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) has been extended for all coverage months beginning in 2021. This means eligible individuals can receive a tax credit to offset the cost of their monthly health insurance premiums for 2021 if they have qualified health coverage for the HCTC. A health plan offered through the Health Insurance Marketplace is not qualified coverage for the HCTC.

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