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Experts Discuss Biden’s Health Insurance Marketplace Enrollment Extension

Health Insurance Experts share what they think President Biden’s new executive order means for uninsured Americans.

Last week, President Biden signed an executive order designed to address the impact COVID-19 has had upon Americans’ ability to access healthcare. President Biden’s order reopened the health insurance marketplace for a special enrollment period, and also encouraged all government agencies to review their health insurance policies. 

According to reports from the Commonwealth Fund research group, nearly 7.7 million Americans lost their job-sponsored health insurance in June 2020 alone, and many others have lost their coverage since then. In contrast, a relatively small number of those people have signed up for COBRA or new health insurance, meaning that millions of Americans are newly uninsured during the greatest health crisis our country has ever seen. Public health analysts believe that disparities like these could combine to create an even worse healthcare crisis than we’re already facing, and agree this is likely at least part of the reasoning beyond Biden’s executive order.

“…nearly 7.7 Americans lost their job-sponsored health insurance in June 2020 alone.”

– Commonwealth Fund Report: “How Many Americans Have Lost Jobs with Employer Health Coverage During the Pandemic?”

Health insurance experts at Health Plan Options Today who work directly with the uninsured have given their take on Biden’s executive order and whether they think it can help the uninsured masses. 

“The biggest concern folks seem to have is that they can’t afford health insurance- especially considering today’s financial condition- so they often see no way out”, said William G, a representative at Health Plan Options Today. “Of course, this isn’t the case, and we’ve been doing our best to educate people to the contrary. Hopefully the President’s executive order causes people to take another look at health insurance so they can get covered”.

“The biggest concern folks seem to have is that they can’t afford health insurance… Of course, this isn’t the case”

William G. HealthPlanOptionsToday Healthcare Expert

Stephanie A., another representative at Health Plan Options Today, says there are other major issues that have shaped people’s ideas of access to health insurance, especially given the United States’ unemployment rate: “Many people have no idea how COBRA health insurance works, and a lot don’t even know it exists in the first place. They just think that if they lose their job due to COVID, there are no other insurance options available.” Stephanie echoes William’s optimism for Biden’s Plan: “I really hope that the people who lost their jobs and didn’t take advantage of COBRA use the special enrollment period to their advantage.”

Overall, there is generally support for Biden’s executive order, especially considering 2020’s historically short marketplace insurance enrollment period and low enrollment numbers. Many people who missed the original enrollment period will now have a second chance at enrolling for ACA-based plans in 2021. Perhaps William G. summed it up perfectly: “I think we can all agree that no matter what, a second chance is always nice.”

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