RALEIGH, N.C., Sept. 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, WellCare of North Carolina announced it is working to help build consumer awareness about the Emergency Broadband Benefit, a new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program. The temporary benefit will help to lower the cost of broadband service for eligible households during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The $3.2B Emergency Broadband Benefit program provides a discount of up to a $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for qualifying households on qualifying Tribal lands. The benefit also provides up to a $100 per household discount toward a one-time purchase of a computer, laptop, or tablet if the household contributes more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase through a participating broadband provider.
"The pandemic has put a financial burden on many Americans and communities, with a disproportionate impact on low-income and minority populations," said Troy Hildreth, plan president and CEO of WellCare of North Carolina. "We want to ensure our members and North Carolina residents are aware of important resources like the Emergency Broadband Benefit to help them access reliable internet services and bridge the digital divide we are seeing across the state."
A household is eligible if one member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:
- Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or the FCC's Lifeline program;
- Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, in the 2019-2020, 2020-2021, or 2021-2022 school year;
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
- Experienced a substantial loss of income through job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
Eligible households can enroll through a participating broadband provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) using an online or mail-in application. Additional information about the Emergency Broadband Benefit is available at www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, or by calling 833-511-0311 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. any day of the week.
About WellCare of North Carolina
WellCare of North Carolina provides government-sponsored managed care services to families, children, seniors and individuals with complex needs primarily through Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans across the state. WellCare of North Carolina is one of the state's Medicaid Prepaid Health Plans (PHPs). WellCare is a wholly owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation, a leading multi-national healthcare enterprise that is committed to helping people live healthier lives. For more information about WellCare, please visit www.wellcare.com/nc.
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SOURCE WellCare of North Carolina