Special Enrollment Period for Health Insurance Extended to August 15

K. William Boyer
Devils Lake Journal

BISMARCK, N.D. – Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread urged North Dakotans to take advantage of the extension of the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for health insurance coverage on the federally run health care exchange. The SEP is open now and will remain open through Aug. 15, 2021, to all exchange-eligible consumers, whether submitting a new application or updating an existing application. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) extended access to the SEP to give consumers additional time to take advantage of new savings through the American Rescue Plan.

“This enrollment period will provide those individuals who currently do not have health insurance or are seeking to change their individual health insurance coverage with an opportunity to access quality, affordable health care,” Godfread said. “Beginning April 1, exchange-eligible North Dakotans should take action and update their information on HealthCare.gov to ensure they are accessing all of the savings they qualify for."

As a result of the American Rescue Plan, additional savings will be available for eligible consumers through HealthCare.gov starting April 1. According to CMS, these savings will decrease premiums for many, on average, by $50 per person per month and $85 per policy per month. On average, one out of four enrollees on HealthCare.gov will be able to either reduce their current premium or change to a plan category that offers lower out of pocket costs at the same or lower premium compared to what they’re paying today. 

Additionally, beginning in early July on HealthCare.gov, consumers who have received or have been determined eligible to receive unemployment compensation for any week during 2021 may be able to get another increase in savings when enrolling in new Marketplace coverage or updating their existing Marketplace application and enrollment.

As with any open enrollment period, it is important to understand your options. If you qualify for subsidized health insurance, then you must shop on HealthCare.gov, however, if you do not qualify for a subsidy, it will be important to talk with a licensed agent to better understand your options.

Some consumers may already be eligible for other existing SEPs, Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – visit HealthCare.gov or call the HealthCare.gov Marketplace call center at (800) 318-2596 to find out if you can enroll.

For more information, visit HealthCare.gov, cms.gov, insurance.nd.gov or contact the Insurance Department at (701) 328-2440.

K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at kboyer@gannett.com, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.  

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