On Tuesday, President Biden announced that he would extend the special enrollment period for people to purchase Affordable Care Act health plans by three months, until Aug. 15, as part of his administration’s effort to address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands had signed up for Obamacare during the special enrollment period that Biden ordered from Feb. 15 to May 15. The second extension will help new and current enrollees take advantage of the enhanced subsidies in the Covid-19 relief package that was signed into law this month.
The federal ACA insurance marketplace typically is open for only a limited annual enrollment period, usually six weeks at the end of the year. Buying a plan outside that period is generally allowed only after a major change in life circumstances, such as the birth of a child or the loss of a job.
The Covid-19 relief package raises subsidies for most people who have coverage through the ACA’s marketplaces. The Department of Health and Human Services has estimated that Biden’s American Rescue Plan will, on average, decrease the premiums by $50 a person per month and $85 a policy per month. The additional assistance will be available starting April 1 to people enrolling in coverage through HealthCare.gov.
Editorial credit: txking / Shutterstock.com