News You Need About Tax Time & More!

New details about last month’s American Rescue Plan Act continue to emerge, and federal agencies and state officials continue working to address regular business and the pandemic. Triage Cancer remains committed to bringing you the news that might impact the cancer community. 

National News

  • Income Tax News: While the deadline to file your 2020 federal income tax return has been extended to May 17, 2021, keep in mind that your state may still have the traditional deadline of April 15, 2021 for filing your state return. You can check with your state's tax agency here. In other important tax news:
    • People now have until May 17, 2021 to meet other federal tax deadlines, including making 2020 contributions to certain retirement accounts and health savings accounts. Learn more here.
    • Need free help preparing and filing your taxes? 
    • You may be able to deduct medical costs that exceed 7.5% of your income.
      • Now including money spent on Personal Protection Equipment to fight COVID, including masks, hand sanitizer, and wipes.
      • The tax break is available for health savings accounts.
    • The third round of Economic Impact Payments (EIP) continues. EIP is automatic for most people who filed taxes for 2019 or 2020, Social Security retirement and disability beneficiaries, and railroad retirees and recipients of veterans benefits.
      • Watch for direct deposits, or checks or debit cards in the mail. To check the status of your EIP and for other questions, visit the IRS website.
    • Did you collect unemployment benefits (UI) during 2020? You may qualify for a new tax break. For taxpayers who earned less than $150,000 in 2020, and received UI, the first $10,200 of UI is not taxable.
      • Those who have not yet filed 2020 taxes can use updated software or worksheets to receive the new credit.
      • Those who already filed 2020 taxes will automatically receive a refund. However, the IRS recommends that you file an amended return if the new change makes you newly eligible for any credits or deductions not already included in your original return. Read here for information and examples. 
  • Health Insurance Plans More Affordable: The American Rescue Plan Act made more Americans eligible for premium tax credits under the Affordable Care Act, and made those credits larger. As a result, 19% more Americans can find a free plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace, and 16% more Americans can find a plan for $10 per month or less. Visit for more information.
  • Free COBRA for Most Recipients: COBRA is a federal law that allows eligible individuals to keep their existing employer-sponsored health insurance coverage after experiencing a “qualifying event” like leaving their jobs. One challenge with COBRA is that the monthly premiums may be expensive. The American Rescue Plan includes a program to pay 100% of COBRA premiums for those eligible for COBRA continuation coverage if they lose their job.
    • The subsidy begins April 1, 2021 and ends September 30, 2021.
    • Employers are required to send notices to former workers who are eligible for free COBRA. If you think you qualify, and have not received your notice, you can find information and a form to send to your former employer here.
    • Learn more about COBRA generally by reading our Quick Guide to COBRA.
  • More Time for Nursing Home Residents on Medicaid to Spend Stimulus Checks: Medicaid enrollees are usually only allowed to have a limited amount of assets. Economic Impact Payments (EIP), are not counted as income when someone first receives their check, but if someone still has the money after one year, it will count as an asset. A new rule prevents states from disenrolling people from Medicaid during the COVID-19 public health emergency, but people should not wait until the end of the emergency. Medicaid enrollees can spend the money in any way that is not part of a strategy to give away assets to qualify for Medicaid. 
  • Free Preventative Care Threatened: A federal lawsuit seeks to end the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirement that most Americans must receive free preventative medical services. The ACA gives wide access to preventative services without a cost to patients. If the lawsuit succeeds, preventative services including cancer screenings, people will have to pay higher out-of-pocket costs to get care. The lawsuit, Kelly v. Azar, is moving forward in Texas. 
  • New Broadband Benefit for Low-Income Households: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will provide a $50 per month discount to cover internet bills for eligible households. The FCC expects to begin sign ups by late April 2021. Find the FAQ for the new program here.
  • Vietnam Veterans with Cancer Linked to Agent Orange: A new federal law adds some types of cancer to a list of medical conditions linked to Agent Orange, and provides disability benefits to Vietnam Veterans who qualify. The Fair Care for Vietnam Veterans Act was included in a defense spending bill in 2020. An estimated 34,000 veterans may qualify for benefits. To learn more, contact your local vet center. 


State News

Fertility Preservation:

  • A new law in Utah increases insurance coverage for fertility preservation for individuals diagnosed with cancer. 
  • In Maine, a bill to help cancer patients with fertility preservation has been introduced in the legislature. 



A new state law entitles workers up to two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave to take time off to get vaccinated, isolate themselves from potential exposure to the coronavirus, or deal with the effects of COVID-19. The new law:

  • Covers all public employers and private employers with more than 25 employees
  • Applies retroactively to January 1, 2021 and expires September 30, 2021
  • Provides up to 80 hours of paid leave
  • Establishes a new “bank” of hours for employees who used paid sick leave in 2020
  • Learn more here

A new bill in California would allow people to add their parents to their health insurance plan in certain circumstances. People caring for a parent under a certain income level and receiving more than half of their financial support from their child would meet a definition of “dependent relative.” 

Another bill would make it easier for those who are dying to choose aid-in-dying. Current California law allows patients to obtain prescriptions for lethal doses, but requires them to make two verbal requests, 15 days apart. Individuals who are suffering and very close to death sometimes die before completing the process. The new bill would waive the 15-day requirement if a doctor determines the patient would not live long enough to complete the process. 


The Wyoming Senate killed a bill that would have given Medicaid benefits to an estimated 24,000 more low-income adults. Wyoming is one of 12 states that have not yet provided this expanded access to Medicaid. 


The state has legalized recreational marijuana, beginning July 1, 2021. Virginia joins DC and 15 other states in legalizing recreational marijuana. For information about your state’s laws, visit 

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