Reopening Healthcare.gov Rejected
After considering reopening the Healthcare.gov markets for several weeks, Fox News reports the Trump administration has rejected reopening Healthcare.gov amid coronavirus outbreak. Reopening the Obamacare marketplace would have enabled millions of workers – and people who chose not to buy during the enrollment period – to purchase health insurance. The decision came despite pressure from both parties of Congress and Governors in favor of a special enrollment period. Insurers, health care providers and consumer groups wrote a letter to the administration asking it to create a special sign-up window as the health crisis spurs mass layoffs in the country.
Special Enrollment Period Explained
The option to reopen the healthcare.gov marketplace (outside the open enrollemnt period) is known as a Special Enrollment Period, or SEP. Current and past administrations have established a SEP in the wake of natural disasters, such as the 2017 and 2018 hurricanes. The decision not to reopen, however, does not prevent Americans with employer-based health insurance who recently lost their job from obtaining health insurance if they want it. Under current law, people who lose job-based insurance already qualify to enroll on the marketplace but they must prove that they lost their coverage. A special enrollment period would have made it easier by not requiring that paperwork. In addition, people who chose not to buy health insurance this year but want it now would have been eligible to participate. Not reopening Healthcare.gov means millions of uninsured Americans will remain shut out from the marketplaces until they reopen in the fall.
Eleven States Establish Their Own SEP
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and District of Columbia all control their own marketplace and decided to establish a SEP to allow people to obtain new insurance coverage. Federal approval would have been required for the remaining 38 states using Healthcare.gov to allow residents to buy new insurance.
Why Was It Rejected?
Fox News reports “Americans with employer-based health insurance who contract severe cases of COVID-19 could end up with out-of-pocket expenses that top $1,300, the Peterson-Kaiser Family Foundation Health System Tracker found. The cost could surge above $20,000 for uninsured Americans.” Considering the potential cost of treating the coronavirus, why did the Trump administration reject a SEP for Healthcare.gov? The reason has not been made entirely clear. Fox News reports one official told The New York Times that the White House was divided about whether to proceed with establishing a SEP given Trump’s support for a federal lawsuit that would rule the entire law unconstitutional. The president has said he is considering using federal programs like Medicare and Medicaid to provide coverage for uninsured citizens. As of April 7, there have been no forthcoming proposals for this alternate solution.
We Can Help
As we continue on this coronavirus journey, remember to keep your health at the forefront. If you do not qualify for an existing SEP on Healthcare.gov a short-term plan may be the right solution for you.
Empower Brokerage wants to help you understand what coverage you need and how to save money when getting it. We want to help you stay on top of your health. CALL US at (844) 410-1320
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