Recent Changes: Special Subsidies for Unemployed in 2021

I lost my job during the pandemic. My only income is from unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. Is there affordable coverage for me?

There are new affordable coverage options for you under the American Rescue Plan, depending on where you live:

Medicaid: In most states, you may be able qualify for no-cost/low-cost public health plan coverage under Medicaid.  Eligibility is based on current household income.  If your income is no more than 138% FPL (just under $1,500 per month in 2021) you can qualify. To be eligible for Medicaid, you also must be a US citizen or lawfully-present immigrant who meets other requirements. 

Marketplace:  In 2021, people receiving UI benefits can qualify for specially enhanced subsidies for marketplace plans.  Eligibility for marketplace subsidies is based on your annual income.  However, during 2021 only, if you will receive UI benefits for even one week during the year, the marketplace will disregard your household income above 133% FPL (roughly $17,000 for an individual for 2021.)  That means you will qualify for a zero-premium benchmark silver plan, after accounting for your premium tax credit.  In addition, you will qualify for cost sharing reductions that substantially reduce the silver plan deductible (on average, to less than $200).

While we have made every effort to provide accurate information in these FAQs, people should contact the health insurance Marketplace or Medicaid agency in their state for guidance on their specific circumstances.

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Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.