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News You Need: Open Enrollment Deadlines, Cancelling Student Loans, Help with Food & More

Here is the latest news you need about laws and programs that may impact the cancer community, including changes to open enrollment deadlines, and a new special enrollment period. And, you'll also learn about automatically cancelling student loans, more help with food benefits, help for people on SSI, and relief from the cost for air ambulances.

Open Enrollment Deadlines & More Marketplace Rules

  • Open enrollment to buy health insurance through the Marketplace at HealthCare.gov begins November 1, 2021, and ends January 15, 2022. This is 30 days longer than previous open enrollment periods, to give people more time to sign up for a plan from a private insurance company. States that run their own Marketplaces can also extend open enrollment, but are not required to.
  • Individuals with incomes under 150% of the federal poverty level (FPL) get a new monthly Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for 2022. To qualify, an individual must be eligible for a plan with a $0 premium after getting financial assistance. To see if you qualify and see what plans will cost you, visit HealthCare.gov. State-run Marketplaces also have the option to provide this SEP, but are not required to.
  • New Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for people who get unemployment benefits. If you have received unemployment benefits during 2021, you may also qualify for a Marketplace plan with a $0 premium, regardless of your household income. You can sign up now at HealthCare.gov.

 

For more information on the Marketplaces, read our Quick Guide: TriageCancer.org/QuickGuide-Marketplaces. For help figuring out your health insurance options and picking a plan, check out our resources: TriageCancer.org/HealthInsurance.

Cancelling Student Loans

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) will now automatically discharge (cancel) federal student loans for individuals who are totally and permanently disabled (TPD). The Social Security Administration (SSA) is identifying those who qualify as TPD, and notifying those individuals that their debt may be discharged by the end of 2021. For more information on student loans, visit: TriageCancer.org/cancer-finances-education.

Help With Food Benefits

Food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), will increase on October 1, 2021. You can find the exact amount by state here, but the average increase is $36.24 per person, per month. If you are concerned about your food stability and need financial help, visit CancerFinances.org.

Help For People on SSI

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is no longer penalizing SSI Recipients and applicants for receiving pandemic-related financial assistance. Previously, the SSA counted many types of assistance as income and resources for SSI. This caused individuals to have their SSI benefits reduced or suspended, or have their applications for SSI benefits denied. SSA has decided they will not count most types of pandemic-related financial assistance against SSI eligibility or benefit amounts.

Relief from the Cost of Air Ambulances

A new proposed rule would protect patients from unreasonably high costs of air ambulance rides. The average cost of an air ambulance ranges from $36,000 to $40,000. For patients with private insurance, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates that more than 50% of air ambulance trips are out-of-network, resulting in surprise bills for patients. The proposed rule would limit out-of-pocket costs for patients. Learn more about these proposed rules here.

Stay tuned for more news at the national and state level that may impact the cancer community.

About Triage Cancer

Triage Cancer is a national, nonprofit providing free education to people diagnosed with cancer, caregivers, and health care professionals on cancer-related legal and practical issues. Through events, materials, and resources, Triage Cancer is dedicated to helping people move beyond diagnosis.

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Kaylee Place
kp@triagecancer.org