Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) in introducing new legislation to help the more than six million American workers who have lost health insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic. As more Americans become uninsured due to job losses this year than ever before in our nation’s history, the COVid Enrollment Response (COVER) Act will invest in outreach and enrollment assistance to help more Americans find quality, affordable health insurance.
“Nevadans who have lost their health insurance due to layoffs or furloughs have the opportunity to sign up for affordable coverage on the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, but many are unaware of the resources and support available to them,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “While health insurance navigator programs run by state agencies and unions are working tirelessly to connect uninsured workers and their families with the resources they need to sign up for coverage, more support is needed in order to reach the millions of Americans impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. I’m proud to support legislation that would provide navigator programs with over $600 million in funding to bolster their outreach efforts and ensure families can find the coverage and resources for which they’re qualified during this difficult time.”
Recent reporting has shown that the Affordable Care Act has made it easier for people who lose their job and their employer-sponsored health insurance to find coverage. The COVER Act would build on that progress by investing in the existing ACA navigator program and supporting enrollment assistance and outreach efforts, and would also make up for the significant funding cuts and continued sabotage from the Trump administration.
Specifically, the COVER Act would:
- Provide $600 million for intensive consumer assistance, including dedicated staff, one-on-one virtual meetings, and application completion assistance, that would build off the existing navigator program and help laid-off workers and their families obtain health coverage. This level of funding would replicate state-based-marketplaces’ level of effort per uninsured consumer in 2014, and based on prior results achieved by such marketplaces, an estimated 11.4 million people could receive help applying for coverage.
- Ensure that every state qualifies for funding based on either the rate of uninsured individuals or the number of individuals receiving unemployment.
- Support existing navigator programs and organizations with a demonstrated capacity in successfully serving laid-off and furloughed workers, residents of rural areas, low-income individuals, and other historically underserved populations.
- Promote efforts to provide Americans with information on comprehensive health insurance that protects individuals with pre-existing conditions.
In addition to Senators Cortez Masto and Baldwin, this legislation is cosponsored by Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).