We’ve put together an overview of resources to help you find information about health care coverage, food assistance and financial relief during the current Coronavirus pandemic. Some laws that may affect your family include:
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act
- Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act
- Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act
Below, we’ll help you understand how to use these new benefits.
HEALTH CARE COVERAGE
COVID-19 Testing (Health Insurance)
Health plans, including private insurers and Medicare, are required to cover diagnostic testing for COVID-19, at no cost to patients, when deemed medically necessary by an attending health care provider. Tests must be approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration or individual states, provided by labs on an emergency basis or deemed appropriate by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
COVID-19 Testing (NO Health Insurance)
Some states have opened special enrollment periods that allow people who aren’t eligible for health insurance through their workplace or governmental program (such as Medicare or Medicaid) to sign up for health insurance under the ACA.
Medicare Part D plans are required to fill or refill prescriptions for up to a 90-day supply if a patient requests it. If you have private insurance, check to see whether refill limitations have been eased.
No Health Insurance
You may be eligible to enroll in a health plan with standardized benefits under the Affordable Care Act. Those who become uninsured due to a loss of job or other factors may be eligible to enroll in an ACA plan outside of the usual enrollment period in the fall. Income changes or a death in the family are also considered Qualifying Life Events that can open additional enrollment.
Some states have opened special enrollment periods that allow people without health insurance through a job or a government program such as Medicare or Medicaid to sign up for health insurance under the ACA.
The American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association, and our public health partners, are urging federal policymakers to create a special enrollment period for all states.
Visit healthcare.gov to learn about enrollment opportunities in your state.
Telehealth and Remote Care
In general, telehealth services are more readily available, and high-deductible health plans may waive the deductible for telehealth and other remote care services — even if not related to COVID-19.
Medicare beneficiaries aren’t required to have a preexisting relationship with a provider to use their telehealth services during the COVID-19 emergency period. Also, patients on home dialysis aren’t required to have a nephrologist conduct some required evaluations face-to-face. Learn more about telehealth options by watching this video.
If you’re struggling with the high cost of your insulin or we’ve consolidated a list of insulin manufacturers that can offer immediate assistance and long-term resources for individuals in need. Visit insulinhelp.org today.
Public school systems are continuing to offer Free and Reduced-Price lunches for all eligible enrolled students. See if your child is eligible for this program and sign up online.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps, helps ensure that low-income Americans receive the food they need. To apply, contact your state SNAP office — use the online directory to find contact information.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, commonly known as W.I.C., provides food assistance to low-income pregnant women and mothers. You can check online to see whether you may be eligible or to apply.
To find food assistance near you, call the USDA’s National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE.
Economic Stimulus Check
Under the CARES Act all eligible U.S. residents who met the guidelines, should have already received their economic stimulus checks. Requirements for this one-time $1,200 payment ($2,400 for joint filers), plus an additional $500 per child, are:
– An adjusted gross income up to $75,000 ($150,000 for joint filers)
– Not be a dependent of another taxpayer
– Have a work-eligible Social Security number
Mortgages and Rent
The executive order to ban evictions has ended. Check with your state government for the latest updates on protection against eviction or and late-payment fees. If your home mortgage is backed by a federal loan, your lender may offer to hold or reduce your payments for six months.
Home Energy Help
You may qualify for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps low-income households pay their energy bills, and also funds various federal housing and homeless assistance programs. Check the criteria on this website.
Emergency Paid Leave
Congress passed emergency paid leave provisions that help protect families’ financial security. The bill expires December 31, 2020.
Repaying Student Loans
Federal law now provides broad relief including an administrative forbearance that allows student borrowers to stop making payments through Sept. 30, 2020. And, for some loans, interest will temporarily be reduced to 0%.
Additionally, employers can provide a tax-free student loan repayment benefit this year of up to $5,250 through December 31, 2020 — the payment isn’t counted in the employee’s income and is not subject to federal tax.
Gifts to Charity
You can now deduct up to $300 in charitable contributions, whether you itemize or not on your 2020 taxes.