Recently, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee announced that the Department of Health and Human Services has issued a clarification of the Affordable Care Act that provides that if someone’s health plan has been cancelled and they now face difficulties paying for a bronze, silver or gold health plan, they are temporarily eligible to buy a catastrophic plan through a hardship exemption to smooth their transition to coverage through the Marketplace.
“This step by the Administration can be helpful for a certain group of consumers in our state of Texas,” Congress Woman Jackson stated. “I am glad that some consumers in our state whose plans were cancelled have an additional option of being eligible to purchase a catastrophic plan through a hardship exemption if they have found the other plans on the Marketplace unaffordable.”
Under the Affordable Care Act, catastrophic plans are available on the Marketplace for those under age 30 and those who qualify for a hardship exemption. This new option clarifies that someone whose plan has been cancelled and is finding a bronze, silver, or gold plan unaffordable can be eligible for a hardship exemption. The premiums for catastrophic plans are on average about 20 percent less than premiums for other plans available on the Marketplace.
HHS also has set up a separate hotline specifically targeted to help consumers who have received cancellations and are still looking for health plans. The hotline is 1-866-837-0677.