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Healthcare.gov will re-open for a special enrollment period

The Biden administration has announced that it will reopen the federal ACA Marketplace for a special enrollment period in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. From February 15 to May 15, Arizonans will be able to shop for affordable, comprehensive health insurance coverage at healthcare.gov.

The Affordable Care Act Marketplace (or “exchange”) serves as a critical source of health coverage for Arizona families. In 2020, over 153,000 Arizonans enrolled in health care through the Marketplace.

This special enrollment period marks a significant shift in ideology and a step in the right direction for child and family health. The Trump administration slashed funding for health insurance outreach, enrollment, and education, cut premium subsidies and funding for marketing, shortened the open enrollment period, and made it easier for companies to offer non-ACA compliant health plans.

In contrast, the Biden administration has announced plans to spend $50 million on marketing during the special enrollment period. The President has also instructed his agencies to revisit and work to rescind measures that inhibit enrollment in health coverage, such as Medicaid work requirements and the public charge rule. While these changes can’t happen overnight, the wheels have been set in motion.

The ACA Marketplace is always open for those who meet certain criteria (for example, people who become pregnant, move, or lose health coverage from another source). Outside of these special circumstances, people can only select or change their plan during the regular open enrollment period from November 1 to December 15. Medicaid and CHIP enrollment is open year-round for those who meet eligibility requirements.

Families and individuals who need help applying for coverage don’t have to do it alone. Health care assistors statewide can help Arizonans find the best source of health coverage for them and can help with completing applications for coverage through the Marketplace, AHCCCS, KidsCare, and more. CAA is proud to support CoverAZ, a service that helps people find an assistor near them. Interested parties can book an appointment online at coveraz.org/connector. CoverAZ also operates a phone line staffed by bilingual community health workers, who can help book a personalized appointment with an enrollment assister. Appointments are available by phone or in person.

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