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HealthCare.gov to Add $50M Special Enrollment Outreach Campaign

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HealthCare.gov managers seem to be trying to convey the idea that they still want to work with agents and brokers.

Officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) mention producers in a fact sheet they developed to explain a new three-month HealthCare.gov state special enrollment period that starts Feb. 15.

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The administration of President Joe Biden added the special enrollment period in response to consumer group arguments that consumers need more time this year to get covered, to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Managers of HealthCare.gov — a system that provides Affordable Care Act health insurance public exchange services in 36 states  — say consumers can apply for coverage through the extra enrollment period by calling in through call centers using the HealthCare.gov website or direct enrollment channels, officials said.

“Additionally, consumers can work with a network of over 50,000 agents and brokers who are registered with the Marketplace, along with over 8,000 trained assisters, ready to assist consumers with their application for coverage,” officials said.

More Details

Officials also gave some more details about the special enrollment period outreach campaign.

HealthCare.gov will spend about $50 million on outreach, and the campaign will include both digital and broadcast advertising, officials said.

The ads will appear on both digital media and broadcast media, officials said.

Consumers who already have coverage purchased through an ACA exchange can use the special enrollment period to change to any available plan in their area, officials said.

“This SEP opportunity will not involve any new application questions, or require consumers or enrollment partners to provide any new information not otherwise required to determine eligibility and enroll in coverage,” officials said.

“In addition, consumers won’t need to provide any documentation of a qualifying event (e.g., loss of a job or birth of a child), which is typically required for SEP eligibility.”

In the past, health insurer have seen a strict enrollment period system, or limits on when people can buy health coverage without showing they have a special need to be shopping for coverage, as a way to push young, healthy people to pay for health insurance when they feel fine.

This year, health insurers seem to be open to the idea that adding a long special enrollment period is a good way to cope with the pandemic.

Executives from Anthem Inc. talked about the special enrollment proposal as example of ways in which the Biden administration  showed interest in the ACA exchange program.

— Read COVID-19 Hit Harder Than Expected: Anthem CEO, on ThinkAdvisor.

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