New Affordable Care Act open enrollment period now underway for limited time

President Joe Biden, joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, signs two executive orders on healthcare Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

The Biden-Harris administration has enacted a special three-month open enrollment period for Americans to sign up for health coverage under the Health Insurance Marketplace.

“After four years of attempts to strip health care from millions of Americans, President Biden has signed two executive actions that will begin to restore and strengthen Americans’ access to quality, affordable health care,” said a release from the White House. “The Biden-Harris administration has re-opened enrollment to the Health Insurance Marketplace, taken additional steps to strengthen Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, and help protect women’s health. These actions demonstrate a strong commitment by the Biden-Harris Administration to protect and build on the Affordable Care Act, meet the health care needs created by the pandemic, reduce health care costs, protect access to reproductive health care, and make our health care system easier to navigate and more equitable.”

The re-enrollment period opened on February 15 and will continue until May 15, to especially help people who may have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic be able to apply for health insurance.

Nearly nine out of 10 <HealthCare.gov> marketplace enrollees in Tennessee received financial help that lowered their monthly health insurance premiums last year.

“More than 200,000 Tennesseans enrolled in a health insurance plan during open enrollment last fall,” said Carly Southworth, chief program officer at Family & Children’s Service (F&CS). “F&CS operates Get Covered Tenn, the Affordable Care Act outreach and enrollment initiative for the state of Tennessee. Anyone who needs health insurance now should call us at 866-475-7879 or visit <www.GetCoveredTenn.org> and take advantage of this special opportunity.”

The health insurance landscape can be confusing, but <www.GetCoveredTenn.org> offers free, unbiased assistance to those seeking help with health insurance on the federal health insurance marketplace. There is no charge for these services.   Alternatively, consumers not needing assistance can enroll in insurance products through the <www.HealthCare.gov> federal website.

Health insurance through <www.HealthCare.gov> is often more affordable than many people think. In Tennessee, 68% of current Marketplace consumers had plans available for 2021 that cost less than $50 per month, after financial help. In addition, 52% of enrollees also qualified for lower out-of-pocket costs for health care services.

“Many people can find affordable insurance on <www.HealthCare.gov> and even receive financial assistance to help lower their monthly health insurance costs,” said Southworth.

Consumers enrolling in a plan on <www.HealthCare.gov> are guaranteed to receive comprehensive coverage, with no pre-existing condition exclusions or markups. All plans cover essential benefits, including doctor and hospital visits, prescription drugs, mental health treatment, and maternity care. In addition, consumers receive free preventive-care services, such as immunizations and health screenings. Testing and treatment of COVID-19 are considered essential health benefits and are covered by all <HealthCare.gov plans>.

For more information about purchasing insurance through the federal marketplace, the special open enrollment period, or <www.GetCoveredTenn.org>, call 866-475-7879 or visit <www.getcoveredtenn.org>. For more information about Family & Children’s Service, visit <www.fcsnashville.org>.