Special enrollment period provides second chance for affordable health insurance

Mon, 02/15/2021 - 2:45pm

    AUGUSTA — Some health coverage options are available again under a new special enrollment period for the COVID-19 public health emergency, according to a news release.

    Maine people who qualify can enroll in or change Marketplace health insurance plans from February 15, 2021 through May 15, 2021.

    The Health Insurance Marketplace, or HealthCare.gov, offers private plans at different prices that pay for a range of health care services.

    In Maine, three companies offer 56 different health plan options. Most people who are covered in the Marketplace — about 85 percent in 2020 — have a reduced monthly premium based on their income and family size, the release noted.

    Sixty percent of Maine HealthCare.gov customers qualify for a plan costing under $75 a month, while 40 percent can pay under $10 a month.

    The number of Maine people signed up for 2021 is 59,738.

    Before you apply, you can preview 2021 plans and prices. If you answer a few questions, you can see plans and estimated prices based on your income.

    You can start an application or log in to update an existing one at HealthCare.gov.

    Even if you don’t expect to need coverage for the whole year, it’s worth signing up now to make sure you’re covered for an unexpected illness or accident, doctor’s visits, prescriptions, and more, the release stated. 

    Marketplace insurance may not be your only affordable health care choice. You or your family members may be eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), state-run health plans that offer low-income people coverage throughout the year, per the release. 

    Information on affordable health coverage is available at CoverME.gov or you can call (800) 965-7476 for free, local help from Consumers for Affordable Health Care.