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Spanberger calls on administration to open ACA special enrollment period

Abigail SpanbergerRep. Abigail Spanberger is calling on the administration to open a special enrollment period for individual health insurance signups due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the need to provide affordable coverage to those who might be at risk of developing the disease.

According to a 2020 report from the Virginia Healthcare Foundation, approximately 712,000 Virginians under the age of 65 did not have health insurance in 2018 —and more than 64 percent of these uninsured residents are part of working families. Many of these families are eligible for subsidized plans through the ACA Marketplace.

Unless the Department of Health and Human Services opens a special enrollment period, Central Virginians would need to wait until November 2020 to purchase new or updated marketplace insurance plans.

In a letter sent to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Spanberger, D-Va., urged Secretary Azar to establish a special enrollment period for patients seeking ACA Marketplace coverage as this public health emergency continues. HHS has previously opened federal enrollment periods following disasters such as Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Dorian.

“Many among the close to 30 million Americans living without insurance and estimated 44 million who are underinsured would benefit from such a declaration,” stated Spanberger and her colleagues. “As outbreaks emerge and community spread continues in the United States, our most vulnerable neighbors are those who lack comprehensive health coverage. Without that coverage, they are unlikely to seek treatment for COVID-19, leaving all in our community at risk.”

The letter continues, “Providing an opportunity for more Americans to seek health coverage is an important step in assuring public health during this crisisWithout effective action, we are concerned that Americans will not be adequately protected against current and future coronavirus outbreaks.”