March 30th, 2021

Health Insurance Enrolment Reopens


Infographic: Everything you need to know about signing up for health insurance or switching plans during this special enrolment period.


With so many rules, regulations and numerous different terms, health insurance can be confusing. Add in a pandemic and things can get a little complicated! Luckily, we’re here to help reduce your stress levels and keep you informed about everything you need to know about getting health insurance during the latest special enrolment period.

Biden Re-Opened ACA Enrolment. What Does This Mean for Americans? 


An executive order signed by President Biden is allowing Americans to have another chance at signing up for health insurance. A 3-month special enrolment period between February 15 and May 15, 2021 will allow many Americans who lost their health insurance coverage to sign up or switch plans. 


According to The Commonwealth Fund, 14.6 million Americans including workers and dependents have lost employer sponsored health insurance as a result of a job loss between February and June 2020. Job losses were a result of industries that were affected by COVID-19. 


By re-opening ACA enrolment, millions of Americans have the opportunity to access marketplace options in 36 states. However, almost all other states are creating their own special enrolment periods to give uninsured residents an opportunity to enrol. Depending on the state, the rules and enrolment time periods may vary. 


Am I Able to Change Health Insurance Plans Outside of Open Enrolment? 


Normally, Americans can only purchase a marketplace plan during open enrolment which is in the fall. Anyone who loses employer sponsored health insurance may also qualify for a special enrolment period that lasts 60 days. However, many Americans miss this window of opportunity which is why this latest enrolment period can be beneficial. 


Who is Eligible to Enrol? 


During this special enrolment period, anyone who is uninsured can sign up or switch their health insurance plan. Regular eligibility rules apply during the special enrolment period. Consumers must live in the United States, be a U.S. citizen and cannot be incarcerated if they wish to enrol in a plan. If you have an existing plan through the federal marketplace, switching plans is also an option. 


Should I Get a Marketplace Plan or Medicaid? 


While the extension is a great second chance for some people, the reality is that not all Americans may be able to afford it due to the pandemic. For those who cannot afford it, Medicaid is an option. You may qualify for Medicaid if you earn less than 100% to 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL). Individuals that fall under one of the following categories may also qualify: 


  • Pregnant
  • Disabled
  • Elderly
  • Parent
  • Caretaker
  • Child

 

According to ASPE, the federal poverty levels in 2021 are as follows:




Medicaid sign ups can be done at any time and there is no special enrolment period. 

If you have an existing plan, be sure to review your income information for any changes. If your income has changed, you may be eligible for larger subsidies. If your income has dropped substantially, you may even qualify for Medicaid.

Can I Switch Health Insurance Plans? What If I Enrolled Under COBRA? 

Many individuals who have been laid off may have signed up for plans through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) which can be expensive. NPR.org says that when you sign up under a COBRA plan, you may pay the entire premium and in addition a 2% admin fee. 

Generally, when you sign up under a COBRA plan you may only change plans during fall open enrolment. However, during this special enrolment period, individuals may choose to switch plans in order to save some money.

How Do I Enrol or Switch Health Insurance Plans During the Special Enrolment Period? 

At Comparisons.us our goal is to help Americans find health insurance plans that are reliable and affordable. Check out our top picks for health insurance plans here

To get new coverage or update an existing policy, consumers can also visit HealthCare.gov.



Health Insurance Enrolment Infographic
 


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