Whitmer Calls for Open Enrollment Extension for Health Insurance Marketplace

In light of the current pandemic, and concerned about worried consumers, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has joined the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) today in calling on the Trump Administration to extend the 2021 Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment period to give more time to the thousands of Michiganders who lost health insurance during the COVID-19 situation.

A report from the National Center for Coverage Innovation found that Michigan experienced a 46-percent increase in the number of uninsured adults from February to May 2020, underscoring the need for federal action.

Gov. Whitmer contends, “Far too many Michiganders have lost their health insurance or are worried about affording their coverage, and the 2021 open enrollment period is an important but limited opportunity to get low- or no-cost coverage.” She adds, “In the middle of a public health crisis like COVID-19, we must do everything we can to ensure everyone can get high-quality, affordable coverage to protect themselves and their families.”

Open enrollment for 2021 coverage is scheduled to run November 1st to December 15th, 2020. Michigan is joining Wisconsin in calling for and extension of the deadline to sign up to the end of January of 2021. Nearly 260,000 Michiganders got coverage for 2020 through the Health Insurance Marketplace, nearly 80-percent of whom qualified for free or reduced cost coverage through federal tax subsidies.

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In addition to open enrollment, special enrollment periods are currently available to people who experienced a qualifying life event in 2020, including job loss or reduction in income, but who did not enroll. Also, American Indians and Alaska Natives can enroll in a Marketplace plan at any time and can change plans once a month. To determine if you might be eligible for a special enrollment period, you can visit online at this link: http://healthcare.gov/screener.

DIFS Director Anita Fox argues, “Families are struggling from the health and economic impacts of this crisis, and it is important that we give them every opportunity to sign up for the health coverage and subsidies they will need in 2021,” adding, “Not only is health insurance vital when people are sick or hurt, it’s also important to help Michiganders stay healthy through preventative care, check-ups, and vaccines.”

To determine eligibility and review the new enrollment period options, consumers should visit the Health Insurance Marketplace at http://www.healthcare.gov or call the Marketplace Call Center at 800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325). Depending on income and their situation, consumers may qualify for cost sharing reductions, premium tax credits, coverage for their children, or Medicaid.

Consumers can contact DIFS Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm at 877-999-6442 or DIFS-HICAP@michigan.gov if they need assistance.

The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents, while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, visit http://www.michigan.gov/difs or follow the Department on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

To view today’s letter, click this link: Oct-2020-ACA-Extension-Letter