With healthcare.gov special enrollment now open, here’s what APHA wants you to know to get covered

Date: Feb 19 2021

Contact: APHA Media Relations

On the heels of President Biden’s executive order mandating a special enrollment period within the federal health insurance marketplace, the American Public Health Association is providing guidance and answers to many questions likely top-of-mind among the pandemic-era wave of Americans who have unexpectedly found themselves without coverage.

“I continue to be grateful for the Biden-Harris administration’s timely commitment to meeting the demands of the American people during one of the most dire times for health care we’ve seen in living memory,” said APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD. “Part of APHA’s commitment is to help members of the greater public make the best decisions regarding their health and the health of their families, and our organization will live up to that principle by helping those most impacted this past year navigate this special enrollment process to obtain the coverage they deserve.”

When to sign-up and who qualifies:

  • The sign-up window, already active, will be open until May 15, though states with their own exchange may have their own timeframes.
  • Enrollment is open to anyone who is currently without coverage, and who would normally be eligible to purchase coverage on the exchange, regardless of how long one has been uninsured. No documentation of losing job-based coverage is required.
  • People earning incomes up to 400% of the federal poverty level are eligible for premium tax credits that may substantially reduce coverage costs.
  • People under COBRA coverage after losing their job can now be eligible for marketplace coverage as well, which can often be a much less expensive option.

If interested in switching plans:

  • In some states, people already enrolled in a federal marketplace plan may also switch to a more affordable or compatible plan if desired.
  • Some state marketplaces may not make that option available, so it’s important check for your state’s marketplace if you’re not familiar with it.

If weighing Medicaid versus private coverage:

  • There’s no need to decide what you qualify for, as the income information you’re asked to provide will either direct you to your state’s Medicaid site or to the next steps in the private enrollment process.
  • IMPORTANT: always update your income information within the marketplace if any changes occur (i.e. job loss, etc.), as you may be eligible for larger premium subsidies.

Before selecting any plan, it’s always advised to seek professional input from an independent insurance agent that come at no cost to you and who are best equipped to help you navigate your options. It is also a good idea to consider your current and future financial situations and how they both translate into finding the plan that fits best.


APHA champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the public health profession. We speak out for public health issues and policies backed by science. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Visit us at www.apha.org.