President Donald Trump and senior officials rejected plans to reopen the Federal healthcare exchange at Healthcare.gov for a special enrollment period in response to the corona virus. This was something that Congress declined to include a special enrollment period in their recent stimulus package, throwing the matter into the Trump administration’s hands.
- The Trump administration had reportedly strongly considered the reopening enrollment period. the administration is “exploring other options.”
The administration’s decision applies to the 38 states that use the federal healthcare exchange. This does not apply the 13 state-based marketplaces such as:
- California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Idaho, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, along with the District of Columbia.
The 9 states that have reopened their marketplace exchanges due to the pandemic, allowing their residents who are uninsured to gain coverage. Residents who currently have “minimal essential coverage” cannot change plans. Residents who have private health insurance (that is not considered Minimal Essential Coverage) are considered uninsured and have the ability to enroll in a plan through their state marketplace
New Special Enrollment Periods
- Colorado: Enroll by April 30, 2020; for a plan effective date of May 1st, 2020.
- Connecticut: NEW Special Enrollment Period from Thursday, March 19 to Thursday, April 2, 2020; Coverage takes effect 1st of the month following the enrollment date
- Maryland: Extends special enrollment period until June 15; coverage takes effect 1st of the month following the enrollment date.
- Massachusetts: Enroll by May 25; enrollments completed by April 23 will have a May 1 effective date; completed by May 23 will have a June 1 effective date, and completed by May 25 will have a July 1 effective date
- Nevada: Open Enrollment from March 17th, 2020 until April 15th, 2020; Coverage takes effect the 1st of the month following the enrollment date.
- New York: March 16th, 2020, and April 15, 2020; Coverage takes effect the 1st of the month following the enrollment date.
- Rhode Island: Enroll by April 15; for a plan effective date of May 1st, 2020.
- Washington: May 8, 2020; for a plan effective date of June 1st, 2020. ***Coverage takes effect April 1 for people who enroll by April 8;
- Vermont: must sign up for coverage by April 17 for a May 1st, effective date.
2 states (Washington D.C. & California) have their Marketplace’s open for reasons unrelated to the outbreak and have extended their dates to accommodate uninsured residents during the pandemic.
- Washington DC: Enroll by June 15, 2020; Coverage takes effect 1st of the month following the enrollment date.
- California: Enroll by June 30th; coverage takes effect the 1st of the month following the enrollment date.
These state-based exchanges have more flexibility than the Federally Facilitated marketplace because each state runs their own health exchanges.
If you belong to one of the 38 states that are affected by the administration’s decision, it is important to know there are other ways to qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) such as having a “Qualifying life event,” like losing health coverage, moving, getting married, or having a baby.
- A special enrollment period is a time when you are allowed to make changes to your health insurance plan even though it’s not an open enrollment period.
- If you qualify for a SEP, you have up to 60 days following the event to enroll in a plan.
Know Your Options
Plan design and availability vary by state. Find out which ones are available where you live.
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