WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that he will extend the special enrollment period for individuals to purchase Affordable Care Act health plans for three months, through August 15, as part of his efforts to administration to address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Thousands of people have signed up for ACA coverage, commonly known as Obamacare, during the special enrollment period Biden ordered from February 15 to May 15. The second extension will help new and current enrollees take advantage of the enhanced subsidies in the Covid-19 aid package that was signed into law this month.
“When I ran for president, I promised that I would build on the foundations of the Affordable Care Act. Just 50 days after my administration, we fulfilled that promise with the United States Rescue Plan,” Biden said Tuesday. in a speech in Columbus. Ohio. “It does this by making health care more affordable. It means better coverage and lower premiums for millions of Americans.”
The federal ACA Marketplace is generally open for a limited annual enrollment period only, typically six weeks at the end of the year. Purchasing a plan outside of that period is generally allowed only after a major change in life circumstances, such as the birth of a child or the loss of a job.
Tuesday is the 11th anniversary of the enactment of the ACA. The measure was approved in 2010, when Biden was vice president of President Barack Obama.
“On this anniversary, we must remember how close we have come to losing that act that we fought so hard for,” Biden said. “We have a duty not only to protect it, but to improve it.”
The visit to Ohio was part of the administration’s “Help is Here” tour to highlight the $ 1.9 billion Covid-19 aid package, with Tuesday’s trip promoting how the law expands health care coverage.
The Covid-19 aid package increases subsidies for most people who have coverage through the ACA markets. The Department of Health and Human Services has estimated that Biden’s American Rescue Plan, on average, will lower premiums by $ 50 per person per month and $ 85 per policy per month.
Additional assistance will be available beginning April 1 for people who sign up for coverage through HealthCare.gov. Biden said Tuesday that 4 out of 5 Americans who buy ACA plans could get one for $ 10 or less a month.
“All Americans deserve access to quality, affordable healthcare, especially as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.
Becerra and Doug Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, also took to the road Tuesday to promote the health care provisions in the American Rescue Plan. Becerra traveled to Carson City, Nevada and Emhoff to Omaha, Nebraska.