President Biden signed an executive order on Thursday that will reopen enrollment in many of the Affordable Care Act marketplaces in an effort to expand health insurance coverage.
Biden’s executive order to reopen enrollment for a three-month period, extending from Feb. 15 and May 15, may help people who have lost coverage in the past year due to the pandemic. Enrollment will be open, however, to those seeking health insurance for any reason, in any of the 36 states that use Healthcare.gov.
States that tried something similar last spring suggest that the extra enrollment time could be an effective way to insure hard-to-reach populations: younger Americans and those who are uninsured despite the expansion of the health insurance law.
“The value of health insurance has skyrocketed for many Americans,” said Lloyd Schneider from Mintco Financial. “All of a sudden, masks, Clorox wipes, and health insurance became really important.”
Created under the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, the marketplaces offer taxpayer-subsidized coverage regardless of a person’s medical history or preexisting conditions, including COVID-19.
The 12-week special open enrollment period being set up by the Biden administration is twice as long as last fall’s regular enrollment period, and it comes during tax season. Many ACA advocates suggested years ago that sign-ups be held when people are doing their taxes and might have refunds to help pay their premiums.
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