Special Enrollment Period for Health Insurance Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act Begins February 15


FEB 11, 2021

RICHMOND – Now more than ever, it’s important to have health insurance. The marketplace at HealthCare.gov soon will offer an opportunity to shop for, enroll in or change to a new health insurance plan.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced a special enrollment period (SEP) for individuals and families who wish to enroll in health plans under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). The SEP will run for 90 days from February 15 through May 15, 2021. 

During the SEP, consumers may submit a new application for health coverage or update an existing application on HealthCare.gov. Current enrollees will be able to change to any plan offered in their area.

Unlike previous SEPs, there is no restriction requiring enrollees to choose the same level of coverage as their current plan. In addition, consumers will not need to provide any documentation of a qualifying event (such as the loss of a job or birth of a child), which is typically required for SEP eligibility. If an enrollee chooses a new plan, however, it is important to note that deductible and out-of-pocket maximum accumulations are not required to be transferred to the new plan chosen, and that those amounts will start over for the enrollee. Health insurance plans not offered through HealthCare.gov are not required to, but may provide for, eligibility under this same SEP.

Consumers will have 30 days after they submit an application to choose a plan. Coverage will begin the first of the month after plan selection. After May 15, 2021, consumers may only enroll in an ACA-compliant health insurance plan if they recently lost their employer-sponsored health insurance coverage or have had a qualifying life event, such as a household change. To learn more about enrolling after May 15, 2021, visit HealthCare.gov's SEP page.

For free help understanding options when enrolling in coverage through HealthCare.gov, Virginians can find an application assister (navigator and/or certified application counselor) at Coverva.org/assistance/. For help from a licensed agent, visit https://localhelp.healthcare.gov/#/. For additional information, call the Healthcare.gov hotline at 1-800-318-2596. To learn more about the new Virginia Exchange, visit Health Benefit Exchange.

To raise awareness about the SEP and reopening enrollment under the ACA, representatives from Enroll Virginia, the Virginia Health Benefit Exchange, the Virginia Bureau of Insurance and the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Resources will participate in a virtual Town Hall on Tuesday, February 16, at 10:30 a.m. The event will be live streamed on Enroll Virginia’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/enrollva/.

For information about shopping for health insurance on or off the Exchange, contact the Virginia Bureau of Insurance toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or visit its website at scc.virginia.gov/pages/Insurance. Use the online comparison tool to compare plans. To verify that an insurance agent, agency or company is licensed in Virginia, visit the Bureau’s website at scc.virginia.gov/boi/ConsumerInquiry/default.aspx.


Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141