Minneapolis, MN – Louise Norris, a health policy analyst for healthinsurance.org, issued the following statement today about an expected extension of the COVID-19 public health emergency. (The Biden administration informed governors in early 2021 that it would give states 60 days notice prior to letting the public health emergency terminate, and that promise was reiterated this month, but no notice of termination has been provided. This indicates the public health emergency will probably not end in mid-July, and will instead be extended again.)
“This apparent extension will likely be a relief to consumers who otherwise would need to secure new health coverage as states begin disenrolling millions from their Medicaid rolls through a process called Medicaid redetermination.
“The return to business-as-usual for Medicaid can be a nerve-wracking prospect for some enrollees. But partially in preparation for the end of the public health emergency, the federal government has put in place a special enrollment period through the end of the year for low-income Americans to enroll in an ACA plan. And there is always a time-limited special enrollment period for people who lose Medicaid and need to transition to a marketplace plan, regardless of income.
“Many people impacted by the eventual end of the public health emergency will be eligible for a subsidized plan in the marketplace.”
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), enacted in March 2020, provides states with additional federal funding for their Medicaid programs, as long as they don’t disenroll people from Medicaid during the COVID public health emergency (PHE) period. All states accepted the additional federal Medicaid funding.
But the PHE will eventually end, and millions of Americans could lose their Medicaid coverage soon thereafter. For those individuals, there will generally be two primary options for post-Medicaid coverage: Enrolling in an employer-sponsored plan, or in a health plan obtained through the health insurance exchange/marketplace. Most of the people who will become eligible for marketplace subsidies will be adults, as children are eligible for Medicaid (or CHIP) at much higher household income levels than adults.
Partially in preparation for the end of the public health emergency, the federal government created a new special enrollment period for people whose income does not exceed 150 percent of the federal poverty level. It allows qualified individuals to enroll in certain Affordable Care Act plans through the marketplace any time of year at no cost.
Healthinsurance.org provides free, online resources for consumers, including information about individual health insurance, major medical insurance and affordable medical insurance.
Amy Fletcher Faircloth, (720) 460-0276