Insurance enrollment

Opening of the period of affiliation to the Special Health Insurance

The federal government opens a special enrollment period for people to purchase commercial health insurance and obtain federal tax subsidies.

An executive order from President Joe Biden created a special enrollment period from February 15 to May 15 for people wishing to purchase health insurance 2021 and grants through the marketplace,

The standard annual registration period was last year between November 1 and December 15. But Biden, who took office on January 20, created the special registration period to help those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. In the economic downturn, millions of people lost their jobs and their accompanying employer-provided health insurance.

Relatively few Oregon residents – around 145,000 – are insured in the market. The vast majority of the state’s 4.2 million people have other coverage: Medicaid, Medicare, or employer-provided plans.

Still, the market – which includes half a dozen commercial insurers offering a range of plans – is significant for those in need. The market is the only way for people to get federal grants in the form of tax credits to help pay their premiums.

It is typically used by those who, due to age or income, are not eligible for Medicaid or Medicare, or do not have employer-provided plans.

The usefulness of the new temporary registration period is unclear. Most people register in the marketplace during the standard year-end open registration period. But people can use the market at any time of the year if they experience a “qualifying event” such as job loss, loss of health insurance, marriage or divorce, child or move. in a new county or zip code.

One caveat is that under long-standing rules, they must use the marketplace within 60 days of the “qualifying event,” noted Amy Coven, spokesperson for the State Department of Consumer Services and to companies, which manages the market. Biden’s special registration period gives a second chance to people who missed the year-end open registration and also missed the 60-day window, Coven noted.

The federal grant for the premium is a boon to many, Coven said. It can cut premiums by half or more. Oregon residents can visit for more details on what’s available.

The new window from Feb. 15 to May 15 “is critical during the current pandemic,” said Chiqui Flowers, administrator of the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. “You can get help paying for your health insurance based on your income. Don’t assume you earn too much to be eligible.

Individuals earning $ 51,040 or less per year and families of four earning $ 104,800 or less are eligible for grants.

So far, it does not appear that the economic crisis induced by the pandemic in Oregon has caused an increase in market use. People who use the tool must register annually. The number of registrations for the 2021 coverage during the open registration period of 2020 was 141,089, down slightly from the 145,264 registered during the open period a year earlier, Coven noted. .

On the other hand, demand for Medicaid, the free state insurance offered to low-income people, has steadily increased as more and more people who have lost employer-provided insurance have purchased. Enrollments in the Oregon health plan, the state’s version of Medicaid, reached 1.26 million in early February, up by 181,920 people since the start of the pandemic, the Oregon Health Authority reported.

You can reach Christian Wihtol at [email protected].

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