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san antonio lawyerThe usual deadline to apply for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act was Dec. 15, 2020. It’s now been extended to Aug. 15, 2021.   

Our last several weeks of blog posts have been about health insurance and medical bills. Two weeks ago, we got into the topic of health insurance and bankruptcy. Last week was a Q&A about medical bankruptcy. Today we provide urgent information about the current extended Special Enrollment Period for getting insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Two Key Changes

In the last several months, there have been two major developments with the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).  First, a Special Enrollment Period allowed people to start health insurance coverage way past the usual December 15, 2020 deadline. Second, the American Rescue Plan Act lowered the cost of monthly premiums under the Affordable Care Act, often significantly.

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San Antonio bankruptcy lawyerYou could get 100% of your health insurance paid from April through September 2021 if you lost your employer-based insurance during the pandemic. Last month’s American Rescue Plan Act included the $1,400 stimulus payments, expanded unemployment insurance, and many other benefits. One other lesser-known benefit pays your health insurance if you’ve lost your job and your health insurance with it. Today’s blog post talks about this new free health insurance.

 What is This Health Insurance Benefit?

This benefit could potentially pay your and your family’s entire health insurance premiums for April through September of 2021.  The White House, American Rescue Plan.

That could save you lots of money. You’d save by not having to pay the monthly insurance premiums. You could especially save by having coverage for any health care costs that would arise during this time.

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Debt consolidation has long been hailed as an alternative to bankruptcy. Consolidating debt can make large debts manageable, enabling the debtor to wrap his head around the money that he owes and conceive of a plan to pay it off. Yet lately many debt consolidation companies have come under fire for shady practices, meaning that in the end of the day, it might be better to file bankruptcy. According to US News and World Report, “debt consolidation loans are like a politician during an election year—they make a lot of promises, but don’t always deliver.” Some of these promises include (but are not limited to): convenience, lower interest rates, and lower monthly payments. Yet most debt consolidation companies fail to mention that many plans leave debtors with “high fees, greater debt and potentially more interest payments,” according to US News and World ReportBankruptcy May Be Better Than Consolidation IMAGE

There are warning signs to watch out for if you’re considering debt consolidation, according to US News and World Report. The first is to not use consolidation as a “cure-all.” It can be likened to fad dieting—it may work for a while, but at the end of the day, only dedication and persistence (likened to financial chastity and responsibility) can relieve one of debt. “Estimates suggest that at least 70 percent of those who consolidate their debt end up with as much or more debt a few years later.”

Another warning sign to avoid is any consolidation company that charges a hefty fee for their service. If you’re adamant that consolidation is for you, try looking into options like no-fee, no-interest credit cards that offer 12 or 18-month no-pay plans. Another thing to be wary of is the fact that you may end up paying more interest over time, subsequently increasing your debt rather than squelching it. “While you may lower your monthly payments… the lower monthly payment may be the result of extending your payments out over more years,” according to US News and World Report. This just means you’ll end up paying more in the long run.

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