WASHINGTON – Millions of people can begin signing up on April 1 for new health insurance premium subsidies made available through the COVID-19 relief package, the Biden administration announced Friday.
The $1.9 trillion stimulus bill President Joe Biden signed into law Thursday increases subsidies to those who were already eligible through state and federal marketplaces. It also makes help newly available to people earning more than four times the federal poverty level.
Premiums will decrease an average of $50 a month per person, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. But some people could save hundreds of dollars each month.
“I can’t overemphasize our excitement,” Rachel Pryor, counselor for health policy at HHS, said when describing the rollout.
Republicans, who unanimously opposed the legislation, have criticized the subsidies as too expensive and said they’re among the bill’s many provisions that aren’t directly related to fighting the coronavirus.
The subsidies will cost taxpayers about $34 billion and provide coverage to 1.3 million Americans who otherwise would be uninsured, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Millions more could reduce their insurance costs.
Designed to help people afford health care during the pandemic, the bump in assistance is for two years.
But it’s the largest expansion of…