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Time is running out to sign up for free or low-cost private health insurance

About 3 in 5 uninsured Americans qualify for zero-premium plans.


This Sunday, August 15, is the last day to enroll in free or low-cost private health insurance through the public marketplace. 

The special enrollment period, which began February 15, was enacted to allow more Americans to obtain health care in the midst of the pandemic. Typically, enrollment is only open for a short period in the fall. 

And because the American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden in March, expanded eligibility and made premium subsidies bigger, more Americans than ever can access health care for a lower cost. 

What is a health savings account (HSA)?

Video by David Fang

Before this expansion, only households with incomes from 100% to 400% of the poverty level qualified. But through next year, that cap has been eliminated. Premiums are limited to 8.5% of income. 

Plus, those who have collected unemployment at any point this year can sign up for zero-premium health plans. Those come with minimal or no copays or deductibles. About 3 in 5 uninsured Americans qualify for these zero-premium plans, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

If you miss Sunday's deadline, you can still obtain a plan during the regular open enrollment period this fall, or after any qualifying life event, like a job loss or the birth of a child.

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