Affordable health insurance a lifeline

Rescue Plan provides bargain-basement health insurance for those who have received as little as one week of unemployment benefits for 2021.



July 7, 2021 - 10:24 AM

Greta Ingle of Thrive Allen County can answer your questions about health insurance.

As of July 1, anyone who has received at least one week of unemployment benefits since the first of 2021, can receive health insurance at little to no expense, thanks to the American Rescue Plan, the federal government’s most recent COVID relief bill signed on March 11. 

The reduced-rate insurance is through the Affordable Care Act and is even for those who have since landed jobs or are already enrolled with the federal health care plan.

We’re talking about $10 monthly rates, folks, good for the rest of 2021.

Sign-up is from now until Aug. 15. Go to for more information or contact Thrive Allen County at 620-365-8128 and ask for Greta.

The benefit is only for those who cannot access health insurance from either their spouse or their employer. Experts predict an estimated 1 million Americans will take advantage of the offer.

To our shame, a disproportionate amount of the takers will be from the dozen states — including Kansas — that have yet to expand Medicaid, the federal health insurance program that provides for the indigent and disabled. 

THE GOAL of the super-affordable insurance is to make health care during this health crisis more available.

News flash: The pandemic is still with us. And with only 42% of Allen County adults fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the chances of a resurgence greatly will rise again when the cold weather forces us inside.

Health experts say we need a 75% to 80% vaccination rate to achieve herd immunity, when enough people are vaccinated to protect those unable to receive the vaccine — including those 12 and younger — from contracting the virus. 

Neosho County registers a dismal 26% vaccination rate. As a whole, 53% of Kansas adults are fully vaccinated.

We can, and must, do better.

Heck, the vaccines are free!

HEALTHCARE remains one of the biggest expenses for American families, with the average cost of health insurance for a family of four about $21,400 a year. A little more than one-half of employers offer health insurance, typically picking up anywhere from 50% to 75% of the cost of premiums. 

But as costs increase — and they do — that’s becoming an untenable burden. Since 2010, family premiums have increased an average of 55%, at least twice as fast as wages (27%) and inflation (19%), according to the Kaiser Family Institute.

And the amount employees pay toward their out-of-pocket costs before insurance fully kicks in has more than doubled over the past 10 years. With the two factors coupled, insurance costs have risen 110% in a decade for working Americans.