The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPC) extended the Special Enrollment Period to allow consumers to sign up for healthcare on the federal marketplaces until August 15, 2021. This gives additional time for those seeking health insurance to take advantage of the new rules expanding coverage for millions who have suffered financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are few things to consider when signing up.
If you have more than one SEP (marriage, adoption, birth) use the SEP that will give you retroactive coverage to the date of the qualifying event. The SEP for the COVID-19 pandemic is not retroactive and would start the month following the month in which you apply for coverage.
You can change plans during the SEP after thirty days of coverage if you have another qualifying event. However, be aware that if you had a birthday in the interim, you might be rated higher on the new policy (your premium may be higher).
Individual states may also offer the SEP to off-exchange plans.
Cobra recipients may use the SEP to access a marketplace plan. The American Rescue Plan Act is currently subsidizing Cobra premiums 100%, but this will expire (unless extended) on September 30, 2021. The ARPC also allows you to obtain Cobra coverage if you previously declined it.