11:42 AM

The 2021 COVID-19 special enrollment period: What you need to know

On Jan. 28, President Joe Biden announced plans to reopen the federal health insurance markets for a nation-wide special enrollment period. This action is being taken in response to the massive economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in some of the highest unemployment rates in decades.  

When does it start, and how long does it last? 

The 2021 special enrollment period began on Feb. 15 and runs through May 15. Coverage effective dates for those who enroll during this time will begin on the first day of the month following an enrollment date. (For example, an enrollment date of March 4 will have an effective date of April 1.)  

Will there be another open enrollment period later this year? 

Yes. The annual open enrollment period will run Nov. 1 through Dec. 15. Individuals who enroll during this time will have a Jan. 1, 2022, coverage effective date.  

I enrolled during the open enrollment period last year. Will I need to sign up for my plan again? 

No. If you are currently enrolled in health insurance coverage, you do not need to enroll again. However, if you are interested in changing your coverage, this is your chance to secure health insurance that is compliant with the Affordable Care Act outside of the annual open enrollment period. Keep in mind if you decide to change your plan, your deductible and out-of-pocket maximum will reset based on your new coverage details.  

Is this only available to those impacted by COVID-19? 

No. Even though this is being called a 2021 COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period, it is not a requirement that you experienced COVID-19 or even a qualifying life event to enroll in (or change) coverage. 

Get ready to apply 

To learn more or to begin shopping plans, visit The Missouri Bar Private Insurance Exchange or schedule an appointment to speak with a licensed benefits counselor. 

The Missouri Bar Private Insurance Exchange is an online marketplace where Missouri Bar members and their employees can compare and purchase products and services from insurance providers that compete for business within the exchange. Occasionally, The Missouri Bar shares content from the exchange’s administrator, Member Benefits. The Missouri Bar is not a licensed insurance entity and does not sell insurance.