Health Care

Biden administration extends special ObamaCare enrollment until August

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A patient is shown signing up for ObamaCare insurance in this Nov. 22, 2017, file photo.

The Biden administration announced Tuesday it is expanding the special pandemic enrollment period for ObamaCare plans for three additional months, until Aug. 15.

The move means signups on the website will remain open for the majority of 2021.  

New and current enrollees will have an additional three months to enroll in coverage or change their plans, and to have access to additional subsidies from the American Rescue Plan that could make coverage cheaper.

Previously, an executive order signed by President Biden in January allowed uninsured Americans to sign up for coverage from Feb. 15 through May 15.

Most states that operate their own exchanges have also extended open enrollment, which is typically available only for qualifying life events such as getting married, a job loss or a move.

The additional financial assistance will become available starting April 1. As a result of the law, premiums will be capped at the maximum of 8.5 percent of income, down from about 10 percent. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, costs will drop by an average of $50 per person per month, and $85 per policy per month.

People who make more than 400 percent of the federal poverty level, about $100,000 for a family of four, will become eligible for financial assistance for the first time, helping prevent them from having to pay full freight for their plans.

About 80 percent of people will be able to find plans for $10 or less after subsidies, up from 69 percent before the American Rescue Plan, the administration said.

On average, one out of four enrollees on will be able to upgrade to a higher plan category that offers better out-of-pocket costs at the same or lower premium compared to what they’re paying today.

People who are currently enrolled in an ObamaCare plan who may want to take advantage of the additional subsidies will need to go back to after April 1 and update their applications to get the additional financial help.

However, the administration noted that when a consumer changes plans, the amount they’ve already paid toward meeting their prior plan’s deductible and annual limit on cost sharing may be reset to zero, meaning they would need to start over paying out of pocket expenses.

Tags Coronavirus insurance coverage Joe Biden ObamaCare ObamaCare enrollment special enrollment

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