The Joe Biden administration has reopened the option for the American public to sign up for government-subsidised health insurance.
An executive order that Biden signed gives millions who lost insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic the opportunity to enroll online at HealthCare.gov.
The special enrollment period runs up to May 15.
In accordance with the Executive Order, the Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that the Special Enrollment Period for the Health Insurance Marketplace will be available to consumers in the 36 states that use the HealthCare.gov platform.
At least 13 States and the District of Columbia, which operate their own Marketplace platforms, have decided to offer a similar opportunity.
CMS said that individuals and families who are uninsured can take this opportunity to look for coverage and find out if they qualify for financial assistance to help pay for health insurance.
Currently nine out of 10 consumers enrolled in coverage through HealthCare.gov receive financial help and 75 per cent of consumers can purchase a plan for 50 dollars or less per month after financial assistance.
In addition, all of the plans at HealthCare.gov cover essential health benefits, such as primary care visits, and cover many preventive care services with no out-of-pocket costs to the consumer.
“We need to strengthen the Affordable Care Act and give more Americans access to health care, especially during this pandemic”, Biden said in a statement.
HHS Acting Secretary Norris Cochran said that CMS intends to release data on consumer activities during the SEP for each month as consumers apply and enroll in coverage.
The first report is anticipated in early March, which will cover consumers who applied and enrolled through SEP in February and have coverage starting March 1.
CMS intends to release a monthly report for February, March, and April, and then a final report after May 15 covering the full period.
Consumers who want to access the SEP to enroll in coverage and see if they qualify for financial help to reduce the cost of monthly premiums can visit HealthCare.gov or CuidadoDeSalud.gov to view 2021 plans and prices and enroll in a plan that best meets their needs, the Centres for Medicare & Medicaid Services said in a statement. (dpa/NAN)