What You Need to Know
- The individual major medical open enrollment period was running from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15.
- Officials added a long special enrollment period this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Connecticut already has extended its SEP to Oct. 31.
The Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange in Connecticut is raising the question: Will the current Aug. 15 end date for the COVID-19 pandemic special enrollment period stick?
Managers of HealthCare.gov — a program that provides ACA enrollment and premium subsidy administration for people in much of the country — are emphasizing that consumers should sign up for coverage by Sunday, or face the possibility that they could end up getting sick or injured at a time of the year when they can’t buy health insurance
White House officials often have talked about the Aug. 15 deadline during press conferences and other events. In fact, President Joe Biden promoted the special enrollment period Thursday, during remarks at the White House.
Biden noted that ACA exchange program users’ average monthly cash outlay for health insurance has dropped to $62, from $104. That decrease is the result of temporary subsidy rule changes included in the Americans Rescue Plan Act, a COVID-19 response law.
“Earlier this week, I announced that more than 2.5 million Americans have signed up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act since I called for the special enrollment period during this pandemic,” Biden said. “Folks, if you don’t have insurance, you can still sign up under the Affordable Care Act through Sunday, August the 15th. Just go to HealthCare.gov today, and get covered.”
But Connecticut’s exchange, Access Health CT, may have reduced some of the pressure to sign up for coverage quickly by announcing last week that it was extending its enrollment deadline to Oct. 31.
Health Insurance Enrollment Period Basics
The Affordable Care Act — a two-law package that came to life in 2010 — eliminated many of the defenses health insurers once had against spikes in claim costs, such as refusing to provide health coverage for people who were already very sick.
In exchange, Congress tried to protect insurers against huge losses by creating the ACA exchange program, or web-based supermarkets for health insurance, and exchange plan premium tax credit subsidies to encourage healthy people to sign up for and pay for health coverage.