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COVID-19 Relief Enrollment Period

The new executive order expands Healthcare.gov enrollment for individuals looking for coverage.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Many Americans have had a tough financial year.

Some lost their health insurance or were forced to use expensive temporary coverage through the pandemic.

Now they get a second chance.

In late January, just after taking office, President Joe Biden signed a number of executive orders, one of which was expanding Healthcare.gov enrollment for individuals looking for coverage.

Called the COVID-19 Relief Enrollment Period, it started about a month ago, on February 15th.

"The new administration, Mr. Biden, had made an executive order that allowed individuals to go apply for healthcare insurance outside the normal open enrollment period, which normally starts in November and ends sometime in the winter," said John Columbo, Individual Sales Supervisor for Geisinger Health Plan.

He explains, normally, someone can only make changes to their healthcare plans once a year, during open enrollment, unless they've had some sort of life-changing event.

This special enrollment period is for anyone without health insurance offered through their employer, no life-changing event needed, and it runs through May 15th.

"Anybody who hasn't had insurance, you don't need to qualify through a life-changing event. This gives people the opportunity to pick up new insurance, change insurance."

John says usually around this time of year, he hears of people who were confused during their open enrollment, perhaps couldn't get in touch with the right person, or signed up for something that isn't right for them. This is a rare opportunity to fix that.

"It's like a second chance opportunity for them to get the right type of insurance," said Columbo.

John says he knows there's a lot of information out there, and it never hurts to ask questions.

Click here for the official health insurance marketplace for Pennsylvania, which is called Pennie.com.

And also information for Geisinger's Marketplace can be found here.