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Whether you missed Open Enrollment, ignored it, or are feeling that the plan you picked during Open Enrollment 2021 isn’t working for you, you’re in luck. A new Special Enrollment Period just opened for everyone, allowing those left uninsured or underinsured the ability to secure insurance through the marketplaces to enroll.

Understandably, the continued spread of the virus has pushed the Federal government to enact some changes, and following a recent Executive Order, the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services has opened a three-month Special Enrollment Period to provide more access to coverage.

Additional Enrollment Opportunity: February 15 – May 15, 2021

Enacted via Executive Order on January 28, 2021, the Biden Administration announced a new Special Enrollment Period to allow Americans to enroll in health insurance outside of the regular Open Enrollment Period between November 1 and December 15.

This is not the first time the Federal Government has made the decision to provide a Special Enrollment Period for health insurance on the Marketplace. In our article introducing readers to the COVID-19 Emergency Special Enrollment Period in 2020, we highlighted the common reasons that someone may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period while touching on the previous directive to allow citizens to enroll in health insurance.

Executive Order Seeks to Extend Enrollment

But following the Executive Order on Strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act looked to provide more freedom to enroll. Per the Executive Order:

“The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has triggered a historic public health and economic crisis.  In January of 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic was spreading, the Secretary of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency.  In March of 2020, the President declared a national emergency.  Although almost a year has passed, the emergency continues — over 5 million Americans have contracted the disease in January 2021, and thousands are dying every week. […]

[T]he Secretary of Health and Human Services shall consider establishing a Special Enrollment Period for uninsured and under-insured Americans to seek coverage through the Federally Facilitated Marketplace…”

HHS and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Announce New SEP

Following this directive, the Department of Health and Human Services announced the creation of a new SEP starting February 15, 2021.

“[…] the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is announcing that the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for the Health Insurance Marketplace® will officially be available to consumers in the 36 states that use the platform on Monday, February 15, and will continue through Saturday, May 15.”

Quick Facts on the Special Enrollment Period

Nearly all states joined the Federal Government in offering this enrollment opportunity, with AHIP reporting that some states may run different timeframes and the only states currently excluded being Connecticut and Idaho. In their article, AHIP highlighted the following on the directive:

  • You must act between February 15 and May 15. Coverage takes place on the 1st of the month after you choose your plan.
  • This is likely the easiest opportunity for uninsured Americans to secure coverage for the rest of the year, excluding those who experience a qualifying life event.
  • Enrollment on the marketplace during this time will still provide you the opportunity to get help to lower premiums and out of pocket costs. Learn more about the credits and assistance here.
  • This also provides people currently enrolled through the Marketplace to switch plans.

Getting Your Health Insurance to Work for You

Whether you’re uninsured or feel that the plan you chose during Open Enrollment isn’t providing you what you expected, now is the chance to make it right. But understandably, the Marketplace itself might not be your best source of good information, leaving many wondering if the plan they chose is the best for them. Luckily, if you’re looking for advice and options, look no further than Insurance Broker Hub.

Our free service gives you access to an independent network of national brokers who have the experience and expertise to design a plan around your needs and budget. Ready to get started? Simply request a no obligation health insurance quote here.