The MLO Minute: By, Lesley Mehalick, J.D., LL.M. —
To help uninsured persons obtain health care coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic, on January 28, 2021, the President signed an executive order that expands the opportunity to enroll for the Affordable Care Act. Through the executive order, the Department of Health and Human Service will open a special three-month enrollment period from February 15, 2021, to May 15, 2021. The typical annual six-week enrollment period previously ended on December 15, 2020. Americans will be able to get information and sign up for health care coverage during this time period by visiting Healthcare.gov or, for certain states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington), their state specific website. As of November, 2020, Pennsylvania residents can sign up on Pennie.com, and New Jersey residents can sign up on GetCovered.NJ.gov. In addition to providing the special enrollment period, the executive action asks federal agencies to re-examine health care policies in an effort to strengthen Medicaid, promote access to health care, and protect those with pre-existing conditions.