The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was signed into law on March 11, 2021 as a signature effort to assist in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the related economic downturn. Included as part of the sweeping legislation is a program to fully subsidize COBRA coverage for six months starting in April of 2021. This expert perspective provides a short overview of COBRA and mini-COBRA, the major elements of the ARPA COBRA Assistance program, and considerations for state policymakers related to the program.
The American Rescue Plan: An Overview of Private Insurance Provisions
Jason Levitis and Manatt Health
On Friday, March 12, State Health and Value Strategies hosted the first of three webinars to address key provisions of the American Rescue Plan package. The $1.9 trillion budget reconciliation package was signed into law by President Biden on March 11. The legislation is wide-ranging, seeking to support Americans as we continue to recover from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. Health coverage programs will see the largest changes since the Affordable Care Act, with provisions that will strengthen Medicaid and CHIP, drastically increase affordability in the marketplace, create new coverage opportunities for those that lost jobs, and provide significant federal funding to support states and localities.
The first webinar explored changes to private insurance, including Marketplaces. Tax expert Jason Levitis and Joel Ario from Manatt Health explored the premium tax credit changes and COBRA subsidy and outlined decision points for state policymakers and consumers. The second webinar, The American Rescue Plan: An Overview of Medicaid Provisions and State/Local Relief, took place on Tuesday, March 16 and will review key Medicaid provisions and state/local relief funding included in the COVID-19 relief package.
The third webinar, The American Rescue Plan: Communicating Affordability Provisions, is scheduled for Tuesday, March 23 and will discuss how to best to communicate with consumers and other stakeholders so residents can take full advantage of new financial help through the Marketplace, free COBRA plans, and more provided by the American Rescue Plan.