The Biden administration declares three-month special enrollment period for the federal health marketplace. In response to the public health emergency brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, a special enrollment period (SEP) began February 15 and runs through May 15 for ACA-compliant enrollments on the federal marketplace. This opens a window for the millions of Americans who are without health insurance and allows individuals and families to enroll or change plans in ACA coverage with potential financial assistance.
Three-Month Special Enrollment Period
Unlike the regular special enrollment period that takes place in the months outside of the Open Enrollment dates (Nov 1 – Dec 15), this SEP requires no qualifying life events. Responding to the COVID-19 emergency that presents exceptional circumstances for consumers in accessing health insurance, this more flexible SEP is open for three months and can be used for new enrollments as well as plan changes
February 15 – May 15
Who is eligible to enroll?
Under this Special Enrollment Period, eligible consumers include:
- Those without coverage are eligible to enroll
- Those with an ACA-alternative plan that doesn’t cover minimum essential coverage are eligible to enroll in an ACA plan
- Current ACA enrollees will be able to change any available plan in their area without restriction to the same level of coverage as their current plan.
- Consumers won’t need to provide the typically required SEP eligibility documentations of a qualifying event (Example: loss of a job or birth of a child)
State-Based Exchanges Following Close Behind
While 36 states participate in the federal exchange, the District of Columbia and the other 14 states that run their own exchanges separately from the federal exchange have mostly also opted to offer pandemic-related special enrollment periods that align fairly closely with the window that’s being offered on the federal marketplace. Although some are limiting enrollment only to people who are uninsured, or who don’t already have coverage through the exchange.
- California: February 1 to May 15
- Colorado: February 8 to May 15
- DC: Through the end of the pandemic emergency period
- Maryland: Through March 15
- Massachusetts: Through March 23
- Minnesota: February 16 to May 17
- Nevada: February 15 to May 15
- New Jersey: Through May 15
- New York: Through March 31
- Pennsylvania: February 15 to May 15
- Rhode Island: Through May 15
- Washington: February 15 to May 15
Check these individual state exchanges for limitations and more information. Some of these windows could end up being further extended at a later date. In the three remaining states who haven’t yet announced a covid-response SEP (Connecticut, Idaho, and Vermont), people can still enroll in 2021 coverage, but only if they have a qualifying event.
Speak to a licensed agent to:
- Get information on products in your area
- See what health insurance fits your budget
- Calculate subsidies for financial assistance
- Learn what coverage could best fit your needs
- Ask questions
- Get an understanding of your insurance options
- Enroll in coverage with the assistance of a licensed expert