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CMS Extends Open Enrollment Period

Consumers have an extra 30 days to review and choose their health plan

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Sept 21, 2021 – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has expanded the upcoming Open Enrollment Period. Consumers will have an extra 30 days to review and choose their health plans.

Starting in 2021, consumers will have from November 1, 2021, through January 15, 2022, to choose their health plan for 2022 on HealthCare.gov.

They have also launched a monthly special enrollment period (SEP) on HealthCAre.gov for lower-income individuals. This will allow them to enroll in low-cost or free health plans. This SEP will be accessible for consumers that are eligible for advance payments of the premium tax credit. In addition, eligible enrollees will need to have an annual household income of up to 150% of the FPL. 

The Open Enrollment Period Expansion Has Strong Support

The expansion of the open enrollment period has received strong support from within the Biden-Harris Administration.

“We’re continuing to answer the clear call from the American public for affordable, accessible care,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. He also added, “The Biden-Harris Administration has already made historic investments to help connect communities to coverage. By continuing to build a policy framework that can support this momentum, we’re also building back better for communities in need.”

In addition, CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure also has strong support for the open enrollment period expansion. “Health care is a basic human right, and the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to making health coverage more accessible than ever. Today’s action to extend the Open Enrollment Period by a month, to continue our investment in local health care Navigators, and to establish a special enrollment period for many low-income people further demonstrates our commitment to connect families to coverage,” said Brooks-LaSure.

CMS Also Expanding Services for FFM Navigators

In addition to expanding the enrollment periods, CMS announced an expansion of the services provided by Federally-facilitated Marketplace (FFM) Navigators. These navigators are experts that assist consumers in understanding their benefits, review plans, and enroll in Marketplace coverage. Navigators are especially geared towards those in underserved communities.

The goal of this expansion is to reduce health disparities by providing consumers with extra assistance on healthcare coverage. With the expansion, Navigators can also assist consumers with post-enrollment topics like the premium tax credit reconciliation, and the Marketplace-eligibility appeals process.

Four times as many Navigators will be available this year, bringing the total to 1,500. This is possible due to $80 million in additional grant funding from CMS.

“Today’s action to extend the Open Enrollment Period by a month, to continue our investment in local healthcare Navigators, and to establish a special enrollment period for many low-income people further demonstrates our commitment to connect families to coverage,” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure stated in the press release.

For more information on the open enrollment period expansion, click here.

For more information on the Federally-facilitated Marketplace (FFM) Navigators program, click here.

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