Healthcare enrollment extended for millions left jobless by COVID-19 pandemic

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Affordable Care Act health insurance enrollment reopened this week as part of an executive order from the Biden-Harris Administration. // Image courtesy of whitehouse.gov

This week begins a three-month window that people in 36 states can use to register for Affordable Care Act health insurance.

Due to COVID-19, enrollment reopened began yesterday and will continue until May 15. President Joe Biden signed an executive order reopening enrollment in January, adding an extra enrollment period outside of the typical timeframe in the fall. It applies to states that utilize the healthcare.gov platform for federal insurance.

This window of enrollment covers anyone who has lost employment-based coverage, even if that loss occurred months ago. The standard 60-day timeframe that is enforced on special enrollment periods for insurance, which normally follows events such as losing a job or having a baby, does not apply here.

Millions across the United States have lost their jobs throughout the pandemic, leaving them unemployed and thus uninsured during a period of increased health risk. This extra enrollment period serves to accommodate that loss.

“Health care is a right, not a privilege,” Biden says in a statement. “That is especially critical in the midst of a deadly pandemic that has already taken the lives of more than 470,000 of our fellow Americans and infected more than one out of every 12 additional Americans, often with devastating consequences to their health.”