Nonprofits Help Utahns Find 'Bidencare' Coverage in Health Marketplace

Feb 17, 2021

Many Utahns have lost their health insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic, but subsidized coverage is now available through the Affordable Care Act.
Credit Rido/Adobe Stock

You may know it as "Obamacare."

But nowadays, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has a new moniker, "Bidencare," because President Joe Biden ordered the Health Insurance Marketplace reopened through May 15 to help Utahns and others who lost health insurance during the COVID-19 crisis get a subsidized plan.

The Biden administration is putting $50 million into marketing and advertising the special enrollment period to guide qualified Utahns through the process of getting covered.

Stacy Stanford, health policy analyst for the Utah Health Policy Project and the Take Care Utah Network, said health advocates have been pushing for the marketplace to reopen since the beginning of the pandemic.

"Opening this door really just makes sure that we can reach folks that are disenfranchised through lack of Internet access, or maybe English isn't the first language or things like that," Stanford explained. "So this really expands our opportunity to get people covered."

Stanford pointed out former President Donald Trump tried but failed to repeal the ACA, although he did cut funding for the plan, including money for registration assistance.

During the 2020 campaign, Biden promised to expand and improve the program.

Stanford stated Take Care Utah is a network of nonprofit organizations focused on helping people with health insurance, with a team of about 50 enrollment specialists across Utah.

"Our team does free enrollment assistance and you can find us online," Stanford remarked. "We can set up free virtual appointments and do things over the phone, over the computer, through text message, even. We have a lot of ways to help people get signed up."

Stanford added Utahns should not believe rumors coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplace is expensive. She noted, depending on your income, ACA coverage can be a real bargain.

"As we saw this year, premiums go down where there's, I think it's like, 86% of Utahns can find a plan for less than $50 a month," Stanford observed. "And then we have half of Utahns qualify for help paying for their deductibles, as well."

Utahns can enroll directly with the Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov. For help in finding the right plan, go to TakeCareUtah.org or call Utah 211 and ask for a Take Care Utah specialist.