Limited Special Enrollment Period Announced for 2021 Healthcare Exchanges due to COVID-19

Special Enrollment Period

There is a new Special Enrollment Period opening on February 15th for people that need health insurance during the pandemic.  This SEP will be available to all Marketplace eligible consumers across 36 states including Texas, served by HealthCare.Gov.

This enrollment opportunity will not require a loss of coverage like most SEPs do and there will not be any need to provide documentation of a qualifying event (e.g., loss of a job or birth of a child). Current enrollees can change to any available plan without being limited to their current coverage level.  Benefits will begin the first of the month after plan selection.  This limited period will run through May 15th, 2021.

This is part of a larger effort to restore and strengthen access to health care for Americans through Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, and expanded availability to women’s healthcare. The Biden administration is expected to spend 50 million dollars in outreach and education for this new limited sign-up period. In addition to the executive orders to improve access to healthcare during the public health emergency (PHE), agencies have been directed to re-examine several policies that undermine the Health Insurance Marketplace, pre-existing conditions related to COVID-19, and more.  We could potentially see changes related to health insurance and a return to Obama-era rules limiting short-term policy durations and more.  Although that kind of change could take months or even years.

Individuals and families in need of health insurance should contact an agent or Healthcare.gov to see if they qualify and to understand their coverage options.

https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2021/01/28/hhs-announces-marketplace-special-enrollment-period-for-covid-19-public-health-emergency.html