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Need health insurance?
There’s a new Special Enrollment Period for the COVID-19 public health emergency. You can enroll in or change Marketplace health insurance plans February 15, 2021 through May 15, 2021.
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If you already have coverage through the Marketplace, the rules in your Marketplace health plan for treatment for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emergency remain the same as any other viral infection, but your health insurance company may have added benefits.
- See what Marketplace plans cover. All Marketplace plans cover treatment for pre-existing medical conditions and can’t terminate coverage due to a change in health status, including diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19.
- Check with your health insurance company for their specific benefits and coverage policy.
- Log in to update your Marketplace application if COVID-19 impacts your income or household. You may be able to change your plan if certain situations apply.
There are now authorized vaccines to prevent COVID-19.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers are now working to distribute the vaccine to federally- and state-approved locations to start the vaccination of priority groups. State governments will handle the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Look for updates from your state or governor as more doses of the vaccine become available for additional priority groups.
If I need medical care
Call before going to the doctor. Many routine medical visits are being postponed, or done online or by phone. Telehealth services for non-emergency and non-COVID-19-related care may be available to you.
If you must visit in-person, you may be asked to do the following to lower exposure risk and protect others:
- Wait in your car until the start of the visit
- Use a limited entrance
- Be screened for COVID-19 by having your temperature checked
- Avoid waiting rooms and areas
- Maintain social distancing
- Wear a face covering, which will be provided to you if you don’t have your own
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer
If you’re sick with COVID-19 or think you may have it, visit CDC.gov for steps to help prevent the spread. If you need emergency care, you should go to the closest hospital that can help you.
If I lost my job or experienced a reduction in hours
If you lost your job-based health plan: There’s a new Special Enrollment Period for the COVID-19 public health emergency. You can enroll in or change Marketplace health insurance plans February 15, 2021 through May 15, 2021.
Outside of these dates, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you lost health coverage through your employer or the employer of a family member in the past 60 days OR you expect to lose coverage in the next 60 days, including if you lose health coverage through a parent or guardian because you're no longer a dependent. In addition, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you lost health coverage through your employer more than 60 days ago but since January 1, 2020 and were prevented from enrolling in health coverage due to the national emergency on COVID-19. Note: Since FEMA declared an emergency due to COVID-19, if you lost coverage more than 60 days ago, you only qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you missed the deadline to enroll due to being impacted by the national emergency on COVID-19. Voluntarily dropping coverage doesn't qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period unless you also had a decrease in household income or a change in your previous coverage that made you eligible for savings on a Marketplace plan.
- If your employer reduced the hours you work and you’re enrolled in a Marketplace plan: Update your application immediately within 30 days to report any household income changes. You may qualify for more savings than you’re getting now. Learn how to report changes.
- If you were furloughed: In some situations depending on the status of your health coverage from your employer, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. You may be eligible for a premium tax credit to help pay for Marketplace coverage too. Create an account or log in to start your Marketplace application to find out if you qualify.
- Need help estimating your income? Use this income calculator to make your best estimate.
- If you have COBRA continuation coverage:
- If you’re entitled to COBRA continuation coverage after you lost your job-based coverage, you may still qualify for a Special Enrollment Period due to loss of coverage. You have 60 days after your loss of pre-COBRA job-based coverage to enroll in Marketplace coverage. You may also qualify for premium tax credits if you end your COBRA continuation coverage, or if you didn’t accept it to begin with.
- If you're enrolled in COBRA continuation coverage, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if your COBRA continuation coverage costs change because your former employer stopped contributing, so you have to pay full cost. Learn more about COBRA continuation coverage and the Marketplace.
- If you lost your job, but didn’t also lose health coverage, because your former job didn’t offer coverage: You generally won't qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. By itself, a job loss (or a change in income) doesn't make you eligible for a Special Enrollment Period to enroll in Marketplace coverage.
Coverage start dates with a Special Enrollment Period due to loss in coverage
- If you’ve already lost coverage, your Marketplace coverage can start the first of the month after you apply and enroll.
- If you know you’ll lose coverage within the next 60 days, you can submit an application on HealthCare.gov before you actually lose your coverage to help make sure there’s no gap in coverage. For example, if you know you’ll lose coverage on April 30, and apply and enroll in a Marketplace plan April 10, your new coverage will start May 1.
If I can’t pay my premiums because of a hardship due to COVID-19
- Check with your insurance company about extending your premium payment deadline or ask if they will delay terminating your coverage if you can’t pay your premiums.
- Most of the time, if you aren’t receiving financial assistance with your premiums, you have a grace period determined by state law (often one month). If you’re getting financial assistance, you have a three-month grace period during which your coverage can’t be terminated for not paying your premiums.
- If your household income has changed, update your application immediately. You could qualify for more savings than you're getting now.
If my insurance company lowers my premium temporarily
Due to the COVID-19 emergency, some insurance companies (with prior approval from the Marketplace and their state) can lower health plan premiums for a month or more in 2020 (called a “temporary premium reduction”). They can do this as long as it’s a fixed percentage off the total premium (like 15%) and is given to all members, regardless of plan type or eligibility for advance payment of the premium tax credit (APTC).
- If you’re newly enrolling in a Marketplace plan with a premium tax credit, any temporary premium reductions that plans may offer won’t be displayed on HealthCare.gov.
- If you’re already enrolled in a Marketplace plan with a premium tax credit and your insurance company gives you a temporary premium reduction for certain months, the Marketplace may also lower your monthly APTC amount so that it doesn’t exceed the portion of your monthly premium that counts toward coverage for essential health benefits. You’ll see any adjustments to APTC in Form 1095-A, which you’ll use to reconcile your 2020 taxes that you’ll file in 2021. (Form 1095-A will be mailed to you in early 2021.)
If I’m enrolled in a Marketplace plan and my income has changed
- If you’re enrolled in a Marketplace plan and your household income has changed, update your application immediately. If your income goes down or you gain a household member:
- You could qualify for more savings than you’re getting now. This could lower what you pay in monthly premiums.
- You could qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
- Need help estimating your new income? Use our income calculator to make your best estimate.
If my child is now living with me after their college sent them home early
- Your child can generally qualify for a Special Enrollment Period due to change in residence if they’re:
- Still enrolled in a student health plan, but the coverage and benefits don’t extend to your area, or if your child’s move home means that they moved to a new ZIP code or county.
- Had qualifying health coverage or lived in a foreign country or a U.S. territory for at least one of the 60 days before the date of their move. Note: This requirement doesn’t apply to members of a federally recognized tribe or Shareholders of Alaska Native Corporations.
- If your child is under 26 and you’re already enrolled in Marketplace coverage, you may be able to add your child to your plan.
- If you have Marketplace coverage with savings and don’t plan to claim your child as a tax dependent on your federal tax return, your child should set up their own Marketplace account and submit a separate application.
- If you plan to claim your child as a tax dependent on your federal tax return, and you currently have Marketplace savings with your coverage, you can update your Marketplace application and add your child.
- If you have Marketplace coverage without requesting savings, you can put everyone on one application.
If I get a direct deposit or check from the IRS that is called an economic impact payment
The COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020 calls for the IRS to make a second round of economic impact payments of up to $600 per taxpayer and $600 for each qualifying child. Consumers may also have received an earlier economic impact payment of $1,200 per taxpayer and $500 for each qualifying child. If you get one of these payments, you don't need to include it in the income you report on your HealthCare.gov application. These payments don't impact your eligibility for financial assistance for health care coverage through the Marketplace, or your eligibility for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). For more information, visit IRS Coronavirus Tax Relief information.
If I have limited Medicaid that covers COVID-19 diagnostic testing only
In some states, Medicaid may cover COVID-19 testing if you don’t have other health coverage and don’t qualify for full Medicaid or CHIP coverage. This limited Medicaid benefit only covers COVID testing and doesn’t cover any other health care benefits and services. It doesn’t count as having qualifying health coverage.
- With limited coverage, you can fill out a Marketplace application to find out if you qualify for comprehensive coverage, including COVID-19 testing, through either Medicaid or the Marketplace with savings based on your income. When you apply, don’t tell us that you have Medicaid.
- If you enroll in Marketplace coverage and qualify for help paying for that coverage, notify your State Medicaid agency of this new coverage.
- Note: If your COVID-19 testing Medicaid coverage ended, you may still be eligible to enroll in a Marketplace health plan February 15 through May 15 due to the COVID-19 emergency. Learn more about Special Enrollment Periods.
Learn more about Medicaid coverage and the Marketplace.
For the latest COVID-19 information
- CDC.gov/coronavirus has the latest public health and safety information from CDC and for the overarching medical and health provider community on COVID-19.
- Coronavirus.gov is the source for the latest information about COVID-19 prevention, symptoms, and answers to common questions.
- USA.gov/coronavirus to see what the U.S. Government is doing in response to COVID-19.