Thanks to COVID-19, several states that operate their own Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance exchanges (which are Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington) are now holding Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs) in response to the outbreak. These SEPs are allowing the purchase of new individual health insurance plans for a limited time. This is unlike anything we have ever seen in recent times.
It may be confusing why only these 9 states are having an SEP and not the entire country. That’s because they run their own health exchanges, so they have more power than ones that don’t to create a SEP. Some states not on the list however have responded with their own plans like California. California announced on 3/15 that its exchange, which had been open for reasons unrelated to the outbreak, will continue to allow residents to enroll through June because of the upheaval caused by COVID-19.
Some ACA states, like Nevada and Maryland, are making coverage available to people without insurance and those with short-term health insurance that does not offer comprehensive benefits. Massachusetts and Washington, on the other hand, allow enrollments only for people who have no coverage. As you can tell each state is going to operate a little differently so make sure to check out your states’ specific response. According to AARP.org these are the deadlines for this SEP; those that have already ended are no longer listed.
- California: Enrollment is open through June 30 on the state’s website
- District of Columbia: Uninsured residents can enroll in private health insurance through June 15
- Maryland: Uninsured residents can apply for coverage on the state’s website through June 15
- Massachusetts: Qualified uninsured residents can enroll for coverage on the state’s website through May 25
- Vermont: Vermont’s special coronavirus open enrollment period goes through June 15
The federal government declined to provide a similar SEP for states relying on the federal marketplace platform, HealthCare.gov. This limits enrollment opportunities in those 38 states. Instead, it encourages people to check whether they qualify for a SEP for other reasons.
SO, what does this mean for you if you’re in one of those 38 states and you do NOT qualify for a SEP? You can enroll in a short-term health insurance plan, which is a good fit for temporary coverage. It can easily cover you until November 15 when we get to Open Enrollment. The Succexxxful Health Exchange can help you through this process no matter what state you are in, no matter if you qualify for a SEP or not. Our agents are ready to find you the best policy possible – especially right now in this time of uncertainty!