10.21.20

Peters, Stabenow Call on Trump Administration to Extend Health Insurance Enrollment Period for Michiganders

Senators Support Governor Whitmer’s Request to Extend Enrollment Through January 2021, Highlight Need to Ensure Access to Quality Health Care During Pandemic

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (MI) and Debbie Stabenow (MI) today called on the Trump Administration to extend the health care enrollment period in order to provide Michiganders, including those without insurance, additional time to secure coverage. In their letter, the Senators requested that the upcoming enrollment period that begins November 1 be extended through the end of January 2021 – instead of through December 15 – to allow more Michiganders the opportunity to obtain quality, affordable care during this unprecedented public health crisis.

“Although the state is taking every step possible with their authorities through the Medicaid program and outreach to the commercial insurance market, many Michiganders still face barriers to gaining access to the federally run Health Insurance Marketplace and potential federal subsidies that will help them afford coverage,” Peters and Stabenow wrote. “Barriers to health care during a pandemic limit our ability to mitigate the transmission and to ensure those infected have access to proper treatment.”

“We have repeatedly requested that you open a special enrollment period for individuals to gain insurance on the federally run exchanges during the COVID-19 public health emergency,” continued the Senators. “It is critical that families have a sufficient period of time to navigate and acquire health insurance through the marketplace—particularly as the regularly scheduled enrollment period will start 9 months after you declared the COVID-19 pandemic a public health emergency while simultaneously denying uninsured Michiganders the option to enroll in a health care plan through Healthcare.gov.”

This effort complements a recent letter Governor Whitmer sent to the Trump Administration requesting an expanded enrollment period. Michigan has experienced a 46 percent increase in the number of uninsured adults from February to May 2020. In states that run their own exchanges, a special enrollment period during the pandemic has resulted in increased signups for health insurance.

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Peters and Stabenow have repeatedly called upon the Trump Administration to take actions that would make it easier for people without health insurance to acquire coverage through the health insurance marketplaces, including pressing for the Administration to establish a special enrollment period. The Senators have stressed that these recommendations would additionally help promote public health and safety in communities throughout the country.

Text of the letter can be found below, or click here

Dear Secretary Azar and Administrator Verma:

We write to elevate and express our support for the letter sent by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) Director Anita Fox on October 14, 2020, urging you to extend the open enrollment period for the 2021 Health Insurance Marketplace through the end of January 2021.

The letter sent by Governor Whitmer and DIFS Director Fox highlighted the importance of federal action to help connect individuals in our state with an affordable health insurance plan and access to health care. Although the state is taking every step possible with their authorities through the Medicaid program and outreach to the commercial insurance market, many Michiganders still face barriers to gaining access to the federally run Health Insurance Marketplace and potential federal subsidies that will help them afford coverage. Barriers to health care during a pandemic limit our ability to mitigate the transmission and to ensure those infected have access to proper treatment.

We have repeatedly requested that you open a special enrollment period for individuals to gain insurance on the federally run exchanges during the COVID-19 public health emergency. As you know, Michigan is one of the majority of states that rely on Healthcare.gov to offer insurance options to our constituents as well as the ability to qualify for premium assistance. It is critical that families have a sufficient period of time to navigate and acquire health insurance through the marketplace—particularly as the regularly scheduled enrollment period will start 9 months after you declared the COVID-19 pandemic a public health emergency while simultaneously denying uninsured Michiganders the option to enroll in a health care plan through Healthcare.gov.

We echo the request by Governor Whitmer and DIFS Director Fox that you help Michiganders gain health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace and extend the upcoming enrollment period through January 2021.

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