The Biden administration is about to launch an advertising campaign that will sell people on the importance of having health insurance.
President Joe Biden signed a health insurance access executive order related to health coverage Thursday. The order requires federal agencies to look into ways to clear any obstacles to enrolling low-income people Medicaid, and to clear any obstacles to getting higher-income people to buy commercial coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) public exchange system.
- FACT SHEET: President Biden to Sign Executive Orders Strengthening Americans’ Access to Quality, Affordable Health Care
- The text of “Executive Order on Strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act”
- Video of the Jan. 28 White House press briefing
- Video of the ACA executive order signing event
- HealthCare.gov Increases Same-Store Signups 6.6%
The president said people need health coverage to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.
The new coverage access executive order will “undo the damage Trump has done,” Biden said during an executive order signing event at the White House, which was streamed live on the web. “There’s nothing new that we’re doing here other than restoring the Affordable Care Act and restoring the Medicaid to the way it was before Trump became president.”
The order itself states that the secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) should look into creating a special enrollment period for HealthCare.gov, or extra time when people can buy individual coverage through HealthCare.gov without showing they have what the government classifies as a good excuse to be buying health coverage.
Biden administration officials said in a fact sheet and a press briefing that they expect a new special enrollment period to run from Feb. 15 through May 15 in the 36 states HealthCare.gov serves.
A New Wave of HealthCare.Gov Ads
During the press briefing after the executive order signing event, Jen Psaki, Biden’s press secretary, offered to answer questions about the order.
Most of the reporters’ questions were about other topics.
A reporter from Reuters News did ask Psaki how the new three-month open enrollment period might affect the number of people with health insurance.
“We don’t have a number,” Psaki said. “But the reason that the president signed the executive order today was because it felt essential at a time of a pandemic when millions of people are concerned about their health care, and many — far too many — still don’t have access to open up an expanded window for Americans to be able to apply.”
Psaki then talked about marketing support for the new special enrollment period.
“We will have a robust public campaign — a public paid media campaign — to reach the American people, and we’ll be putting a lot of levers and resources toward that,” Psaki said. “But I don’t have a prediction for you in terms of the numbers.”
Health insurers, regulators and Affordable Care Act public health insurance exchanges, or web-based supermarkets for health insurance, originally developed the “open enrollment period” system, or limits on when people can buy health coverage through the ordinary process, in an effort to push healthy people to pay for coverage.
The idea is that healthy people who don’t get insurance may break their legs or catch pneumonia outside the open enrollment period, with no way to get covered.
Brokers have been enthusiastic about the idea of HealthCare.gov managers adding a broad special enrollment period, and insurers now seem warmer to the idea.