Ohioans who may have lost a job or their health insurance during the coronavirus pandemic can take advantage of a special extension of the sign-up period for the Affordable Care Act.
In January, President Biden signed an executive order to open up the federal health insurance marketplace for three months starting this week so uninsured people can buy a plan and those who want to change their marketplace coverage can do so.
The cost of the plans depends on your income and your number of dependents.
People with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for tax credits that may reduce their costs. That’s about $51,500 for one person or $106,000 for a family of four, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Affordable Care Act will protect anyone from having COVID listed as a pre-existing condition, said Loren Anthes policy analyst at the Cleveland-based Center for Community Solutions.
More people could gain insurance through the extended enrollment period, which is especially important now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Anthes said.
“It allows more people to access more coverage at a time when coverage may be less stable right now, because of the economic consequences of COVID,” he said.
About 10 percent of Ohioans currently don’t have insurance, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey.
“There’s going to be a lot of need out there for individuals to address both their general health care, but also any particular challenges that they may have with COVID,” Anthes said.
You can compare insurance plans by filling out the questionnaire.
The extended enrollment period is available to other states as well, including the 36 states that use the federal marketplace platform, like Ohio, and states that have their own programs that offer extended enrollment periods.