ACA open enrollment facing unique challenges during pandemic, SCOTUS challenge

There will likely be more people signing up for the service than in past years, and many of them will likely be new to the marketplace.
Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 6:55 AM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - We’re entering the third week of open enrollment for the federal health insurance marketplace. This is the seventh year the marketplace has been up and running but the first time Americans have been shopping for health insurance during a pandemic.

Toledo-Lucas County CareNet is a free service for Lucas County residents who need help shopping for heath insurance. Their services have moved completely virtual this year.

A CareNet representative says the marketplace always gets really busy the last week of enrollment, which ends on December 15.

But this year, she says it’s important not to wait. There will likely be a lot more people than usual needing help, and many of them are likely to be new to the marketplace.

“Every year, in that last week of December 10, that’s when everyone starts reaching out, and just in our world right now, of COVID and virtual appointments, I would just encourage people to reach out sooner rather than later,” says Julie Grasson, assistant director for CareNet.

Nearly 1.5 million Americans filled out applications through the marketplace just in the first week.

The Affordable Care Act, which establishes the health care marketplace, is under Supreme Court challenge. So many of the people buying insurance now are unsure if the law that makes that whole process possible will be thrown out in June.

However, Grasson says that is not deterring people from seeking coverage. She says the number of people asking CareNet for help is normal, and she still expects a big boom in clients near the end of the enrollment period.

After all, this is not the first time the act has been in danger of being repealed.

“There have been numerous challenges to the Affordable Care Act, and our thing is, you can’t go without expecting that it will be repealed,” says Grasson.

Insurance plans are typically purchased for a year, so any plan you purchase now will likely extend through 2021, even if the Affordable Care Act is tossed, according to Grasson.

She also warns of fake sites claiming to be the marketplace. The real federal healthcare marketplace can be accessed here. CareNet is available here.

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