Recent Changes: Special Subsidies for Unemployed in 2021

I’m unemployed, and even with UI benefits, I think my 2021 income will be less than the poverty level ($12,760 for a single person in 2021). Can I qualify for marketplace subsidies?

Yes.  Generally, people must have an annual income at least as high as the federal poverty level in order to qualify for marketplace subsidies.  In states that have not expanded Medicaid eligibility, that leaves poor adults with no access to financial help for health coverage.  However, during 2021 only, people who receive UI benefits during the year and who live in non-expansion states can receive a premium tax credit and cost-sharing subsidies even if their annual income is below the federal poverty level.    

Other eligibility rules for marketplace subsidies continue to apply, however.  To be eligible for subsidies, you also must be a US citizen or legally residing in the US, you cannot be incarcerated, and you cannot be eligible for other subsidized Minimum Essential Coverage, such as Medicaid, CHIP, Medicare, or employer-sponsored health coverage that meets standards for affordability and minimum value.

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.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
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.