US Not Reopening Obamacare Enrollment Amid Pandemic

Henrietta Brewer
April 3, 2020

"There will be people who don't have insurance who get sick before any of these mitigation efforts are put into place", Fox News' John Roberts asked at the coronavirus task force briefing.

A White House official told Politico Tuesday evening that after considering a reopening for a special enrollment period, the administration is instead "exploring other options".

Politico said that according to one White House official, the administration, which oversees enrollment for roughly two-thirds of states, is considering other unspecified options. The annual open enrollment period closed in December, and the reopening was a possibility that President Trump had floated in March.

Still, under current law, people who lose their job and employer-based insurance qualify for a special enrollment period through ObamaCare, but must provide proof that they lost their coverage. The U.S. has a special challenge, though: Unlike most developed nations, health insurance is mostly tied to jobs.

Eleven states that control their own marketplaces - California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington - and the District of Columbia have established their own special enrollment periods.

"Given the risk posed by Covid-19, it is more important than ever for people to have health coverage", the CEOs of America's Health Insurance Plans and Blue Cross Blue Shield Association wrote, referring to the disease caused by coronavirus. The cost could surge above $20,000 for uninsured Americans.

It was a remarkable concession from a president who supports striking down the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare - a move that would strip health insurance away from tens of millions of Americans.

He said that future legislation from Congress, in conjunction with the $2.2 trillion relief bill Trump signed last week, will ensure that Americans "have those costs compensated and covered".

In March, the Affordable Care Act turned 10 years old and now enjoys its highest popularity ever, according to NBC News.

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