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Several States Reopen ObamaCare Enrollment

Federal government is considering a similar move
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2020 7:28 AM CDT

(Newser) – Several states that run their own ObamaCare exchanges have reopened enrollment to make it easier for people who have lost their jobs to get health insurance. So far, 11 states have done so, reports the New York Times. The bigger question is whether the federal government—which runs the exchange in 32 states—will make a similar move amid the coronavirus outbreak. The Wall Street Journal and Politico report that such a move is under consideration. A spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees the insurance marketplaces, says the agency is "evaluating offering a Special Enrollment Period specifically designated for COVID-19." Open enrollment for the federal exchange ended on Dec. 15, but special enrollments are sometimes used during natural disasters.

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The states that have reopened enrollment are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, per the Times. DC also has done so. “There’s no economic or public health rationale to not open the doors wide in the face of the pandemic,” says a California state health official. Meanwhile, major insurance lobbies have asked Congress for help offsetting potential losses as part of the stimulus package still being worked out on Capitol Hill. All of this is unfolding as the Trump administration is backing legislation from Republican-led states to have the Affordable Care Act declared null and void, notes the Journal. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case. (Read more ObamaCare stories.)

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