Job loss resulting from the pandemic has left many people without health insurance and for many has resulted in the need to find more affordable alternatives. For those seeking health insurance, a special enrollment period (SEP) will allow people to enroll in Marketplace health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. This SEP will begin Feb. 15, and will run through May 15.
At Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, Certified Application Counselors (CAC’s) are available to assist people in enrolling in health insurance provided through the Affordable Care Act, said Benefits Enrollment Specialist Robert Murnan.
“We help educate consumers about insurance and the program specifics,” said Murnan. “We can also provide access to the internet to apply and enroll.”
The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will have the newly updated SEP information on the Marketplace enrollment site HealthCare.gov by Feb. 15. To get assistance in navigating the enrollment site call the CHC/SEK at 620-231-9873 to schedule an appointment with a CAC to review what information is needed to apply and enroll.
President Joe Biden ordered the HHS to create the special enrollment period due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has resulted in more than 20 million people losing their jobs, as well as their health insurance.
The expansion of the SEP for the Marketplace will provide another opportunity to enroll in health insurance for those who might have missed the Open Enrollment Period which ran from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15. It also provides another opportunity to laterally change insurance companies within the Marketplace if the provider network has since changed.
Before President Biden’s announcement, people who lost job-based health insurance or experienced another life event, such as getting married, may have qualified for a 60-day SEP based on their specific situation. If a SEP was granted, they would then be able choose a Marketplace plan outside of the normal sign-up period. This new pandemic related SEP will allow anyone to check the Marketplace and see if they are eligible to enroll.
About Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas
Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHC/SEK) is a non-profit Federally Qualified Health Center dedicated to providing affordable, high quality medical, dental, behavioral health, and pharmacy services to everyone, regardless of income or insurance status at 18 locations throughout Crawford, Cherokee, Labette, Linn, Montgomery and Allen counties, and Ottawa Co. in Oklahoma. For more information, visit www.chcsek.org.