Traditionally, the Open Enrollment period for the Health Insurance Marketplace implemented under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) runs from November 1 to December 15 annually. Today, a Special Open Enrollment Period has begun for anyone who needs coverage or is interested in changing their 2021 plan; it will run until May 15, 2021. The new Special Open Enrollment Period has sparked a few questions for Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy’s health insurance navigators who help Cabarrus, Mecklenburg and Union County families and individuals choose plans available on Healthcare.gov. These questions and more are answered at charlottelegaladvocacy.org/getcovered.
What is the new Special Open Enrollment Period? Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Biden administration announced a new three-month Special Open Enrollment Period. First-time consumers or individuals who have lost their health coverage can enroll in a plan during this time, and existing consumers can switch plans if they want to. Is financial assistance still available for the Special Open Enrollment Period? Yes. If your household income is between 100-400% of the federal poverty level (FPL), you may be eligible for financial assistance that will help to lower the cost of your monthly premiums. In addition, if your household income is below 250% FPL, you may be eligible for financial assistance that will help to lower your out-of-pocket costs if you select a Silver plan. Individuals that are not eligible for Medicaid due to their immigration status, may be eligible for financial assistance even if their income is below 100% FPL.
I already have Healthcare.gov coverage. Can I change my plan during the new Special Open Enrollment Period? Yes, existing consumers can switch plans. The new plan will start the first month after the enrollment is complete. How can I get ready to enroll in 2021 Marketplace coverage? If you already have a Healthcare.gov account, make sure you are able to log in. If your household size or income has changed, gather supporting documentation such as tax returns from last year or recent pay stubs. You may be required to provide copies of these documents to the Marketplace.
Will my existing plan price change because of the new Special Open Enrollment Period? There will be no change to the amount of subsidies you are receiving, so the price of your coverage should stay the same. Still make sure to report any life changes you have during the year to the Marketplace to ensure you are paying the right amount for your coverage!
Free appointments with a local navigator can be made using the statewide appointment hotline at 1-855-733-3711, or online at www.ncnavigator.net. About Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy: The organization can provide those in need with information, advice and advocacy in consumer protection, home preservation, health care access and public benefits, immigration, tax assistance and more. Our mission is to pursue justice for those in need. Our vision is to build a just community, where all people are treated fairly and have access to legal representation to meet their basic human needs of safety, economic security and stability. Learn more: charlottelegaladvocacy.org.