CMS reports that more than 206,000 Americans signed up for health insurance plans during the first two weeks of the 2021 Marketplace Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for consumers in HealthCare.gov States.
The number of new plan selections from the start of the SEP opportunity on February 15 through February 28 represents an increase from 76,000 and 60,000 consumers signing up for health insurance during the same period in 2020 and 2019, respectively. In previous years, SEPs were available only for qualifying life events, whereas this year the Biden-Harris Administration opened an SEP to all Americans in response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.
The SEP is available to consumers applying for new coverage or updating an existing application through HealthCare.gov, the Marketplace call center, or through direct enrollment channels. Coverage is prospective, with coverage beginning the first day of the month following the date of plan selection.
All providers should remind their staff to verify patients’ insurance information at every visit. Many people are changing their insurance due to the impact of the pandemic.