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Trump Administration Rejects Special Enrollment Opportunity for Americans While Coronavirus Worsens

The Trump Administration announced today that it would not create a special enrollment period (SEP) that would have allowed those who are uninsured to enroll in a health insurance plan outside of the regular Affordable Care Act open enrollment period. This decision comes after more than 200 organizations called for a new SEP, and were joined by more than 100 members of Congress in their own letter.

In response to the this decision, Erin Hemlin Health Policy and Advocacy Director for Young Invincibles, issued the following statement:

“With the country facing a global pandemic that has escalated dramatically across the US in a matter of weeks, the President could have used a simple, incredibly effective tool to ensure that everyone has access to quality, affordable health coverage. But rather than opening a special enrollment period, the President has chosen to play politics over saving lives.

President Trump has spent his entire term undermining the health insurance marketplace and slashing resources, making it even harder for young people to understand and access the tools they need to enroll. As a result, young people are still uninsured at higher rates than older adults, and are now more vulnerable to unexpected costs from COVID treatment.

The bare minimum President Trump could have done was help uninsured people get access to the coverage they need during this health crisis. But he failed to do even that.”

While the Administration will not open a special enrollment period, which would allow any uninsured American to enroll in coverage, many who are facing serious disruptions in their lives will still qualify for a traditional SEP. For example, those who are losing job-based coverage due to unemployment, or who have moved to a new area or state can still qualify for a 60-day special enrollment period to enroll at HealthCare.Gov, and some may be eligible for Medicaid coverage.

Twelve of the thirteen state-based marketplaces have already created an SEP for their states.