ACA Opens Special Enrollment Period In Response To COVID-19: What You Need To Know

Leslie Mckinney via Blue Cross
ACA Affordable Care Act

If you missed open enrollment for Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance, you now have another opportunity to sign up. 

On January 28, President Biden issued an Executive Order on strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act

“In light of the exceptional circumstances caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall consider establishing a Special Enrollment Period for uninsured and under-insured Americans to seek coverage through the Federally Facilitated Marketplace.” 

This special enrollment period will run February 15, 2021 through May 15, 2021.  Any individual or family interested in purchasing their own health coverage can enroll during this period. This includes people who are uninsured, under-insured, or wanting to switch to a different Marketplace plan. 

Typically you would only be allowed to sign up for coverage outside of open enrollment if you had a “special” circumstance, like the birth of a child, a marriage or divorce, or the loss of health insurance. But for this special enrollment period, you won’t need to provide any documentation of a qualifying life event. 

In North Carolina, 1.2 million people are uninsured. The health research group Kaiser Family Foundation estimates about 280,000 may qualify for tax credits to get their insurance at no cost. During heightened risk caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is important we make health care accessible and affordable for everyone. 

Get started on finding a health plan.

To find a health care plan that meets your needs and to find out if you qualify for a subsidy from the federal government visit www.BlueCrossNC.com/Shopping.

Here’s what you need to know about this special open enrollment period: 

Where should I go if I want to apply or select a new plan?  

Current members can:  

  • Reach out to your authorized Blue Cross NC agent

  • Call Customer Service at 1-888-206-4697

  • Visit BlueConnectNC.com to contact us via secure inbox message or chat

     

New members can:  

  • Reach out to your authorized Blue Cross NC agent

  • Visit BlueCrossNC.com/Shopping and click on the “Get a Free Rate Quote”

  • Speak directly to a sales representative by calling 1-800-324-4973, available Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Current and new members can also get help in-person at one of the Blue Cross NC Centers near Raleigh, Charlotte or Boone. Learn more at BlueCrossNC.com/Centers.  

How long does this Special Enrollment Period last? 

The enrollment period will begin February 15, 2021 and run through May 15, 2021. Customers must apply during this time period.

Who can use this Special Enrollment Period?  

Any individual or family interested in purchasing their own health coverage can enroll during this special enrollment period.  This includes people who are uninsured, under-insured, or already enrolled in a plan and wanting to switch to a different plan. So regardless of whether you’ve got no coverage at all or have some other coverage under something like a short-term health plan, you’ll be able to sign up for coverage during this time period.  

Can I use this this Special Enrollment Period to drop my COBRA election early? 

Yes. Make sure you cancel your COBRA plan if you decide to purchase a new plan. 

Am I required to submit documentation showing that I qualify for this Special Enrollment Period? 

You won’t need to provide any documentation of a qualifying event like the loss of a job or birth of a child, which is typically required. 

How many times can I change my plan through this Special Enrollment Period? 

You can make multiple plan selections. However, it’s important to note that you will have to start over in meeting your deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.  ————————————————————————————————————————

Interested in learning more about the health plan that is right for you? Get a free quote on this page or contact the Health Plans of NC Agent on this website.  

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