Enrolment for those willing to buy healthcare coverage from federal insurance marketplaces for 2020 ended a while ago, but the coronavirus outbreak and the government’s measures aimed at preventing it from spreading have had a major impact on US citizens’ lives, their financial situation, and even employment.
The Trump administration is considering introducing a special additional enrolment period for those in the US who wanted to sign up for insurance for 2020 via Obamacare federal insurance marketplaces but failed to do so during the allotted timeframe, a Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) spokesperson said in an interview with Politico.
The move was triggered by the coronavirus outbreak emergency, as the US now ranks third globally when it comes to the number of registered COVID-19 cases. Previously, a small number of states running their own insurance marketplaces rather than federal ones under Obamacare also allowed off-schedule enrolment for 2020, urging citizens to get insurance if they had previously failed to do so in case they get infected.
REUTERS / LUCAS JACKSON
A man wears a protective mask as he walks past the New York Stock Exchange on the corner of Wall and Broad streets during the coronavirus outbreak in New York City, New York, U.S., March 13, 2020
The CMS spokesperson didn’t elaborate on what criteria a person should meet in order to be entitled to this enrolment, but noted that people who have lost their jobs due to the outbreak will qualify for it. Normally, only people who have experienced major unexpected changes in their lives, such as change in marital status, death of an insurance-covered family member, or relocation to another state would be eligible to enrol beyond the standard period.
The move comes as the US is experiencing a surge in unemployment as businesses are forced to halt their operations due to counter-coronavirus measures, such as quarantines, and lay off their employees. According to estimates from Bank of America, over 700,000 unemployment benefit applications could be filed in the coming weeks. Financial analysts at JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs have also predicted a record-high GDP drop for the US economy in the second quarter due to the coronavirus pandemic, albeit with a subsequent speedy recovery.