What does the COVID relief bill mean for rare disease patients?

The Alpha-1 Foundation received the following correspondence from the National Organization for Rare Disorder’s policy team on March 12th, 2021: 

President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law on Thursday, March 11th! This law contains many important provisions to help our country through the COVID-19 crisis. Here are 5 changes the American Rescue Plan makes that matter to the rare disease community:

1. Increases funding and support to help Americans afford private health insurance through healthcare.gov or their state marketplace, and provides protection from paying back excess subsidies due to income changes.2. Provides 100% premium support for COBRA insurance through September 30 for individuals who have lost coverage due to involuntary layoffs or reduced hours.
3. Provides additional federal support for vital home-and community-based services that enable many rare diseases patients to live in their homes rather than moving to a facility for care.
4. Expands state coverage to help uninsured Americans access COVID-19 vaccines and treatment and curb the spread of the virus.
5. Provides new incentives for states to expand their Medicaid programs and provide health insurance to millions of low-income Americans.

Don’t forget the federal government and many states have also opened a special three-month enrollment period through May 15 to obtain health insurance. Check out healthcare.gov to learn more about your options!

This is exciting news for rare disease patients, but the work isn’t over. NORD’s Rare Action Network works at the national and state level to influence public policies that will improve the lives of rare disease patients and families. We depend on advocates like you to take action. Please use this social media toolkit amongst your networks to share the different health care options available.

Together we are strong,
The NORD Policy Team

The Rare Action Network® is powered by NORD, the leading non-profit organization serving the rare disease community through programs of advocacy, education, research and patient services.

NORD, a 501(c)(3) organization, is a patient advocacy organization dedicated to individuals with rare diseases and the organizations that serve them. NORD, along with its more than 300 patient organization members, is committed to the identification, treatment and cure of rare disorders through programs of education, advocacy, research, and patient services. www.rarediseases.org