For those who missed 2021 open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace, the federal government has extended the deadline to apply until May 15.

President Joe Biden signed an executive order in January allocating $50 million to educate and encourage people to sign up for the program. The open enrollment period reopened on February 15. Applications are typically due in the fall of the previous year, but COVID-19 affected many people’s abilities to get health insurance or change their coverage. 

Those purchasing plans through special enrollment, Medicaid or other means can also still get coverage.

To apply or update your existing coverage, go online to the Marketplace website

The move comes in contrast to President Donald Trump’s insistence not to reopen enrollment to the Marketplace last spring when COVID-19 hit the United States. The number of uninsured Americans has slowly been on the rise. In 2019, the number of uninsured Americans increased for the third year in a row to 28.9 million non-elderly people across the nation. And with so many losing their jobs, and subsequently their health insurance and incomes, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need has surely increased.

Typically year-round special enrollment periods exist for people who’ve experienced major life events such as losing a job or having a baby. But that person must apply within 60 days of the event. This new period waives those requirements and doesn’t ask questions about how long you have or have not been uninsured.

contact the writer at news@thereader.com


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Chris Bowling

Chris has worked for The Reader since January 2020. As an investigative reporter and news editor he’s taken deep dives into topics such as police transparency, affordable housing and COVID-19. Originally...

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