While it’s easy to understand how focused we all are on November 3rd and the election, there is another important date that might have slipped your notice. With all of the news about the election, the Supreme Court hearings, and of course, COVID-19, it could be easy to forget about November 1st, the day that Open Enrollment on ACA exchanges begins.
The ACA Still Exists
You may be surprised to hear open enrollment is still happening, since the news is full of stories saying the ACA is at risk, and it is. There is a lawsuit seeking to overturn the ACA scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court just one week after election day. However - and this must be repeated - the ACA is not dead yet.
No matter what decision the Court renders, it’s important to understand the schedule of the Court. Traditionally, the Court hears oral arguments of cases on their docket in the fall, and then renders its decisions in the spring or early summer, ending their session in June. This is critical to understand for a number of reasons:
Don’t Forget to Enroll! Open Enrollment Begins November 1st
In spite of the challenges of the ACA, this year’s Open Enrollment is more important than ever. Americans are continuing to lose jobs, and by extension, their health insurance, as COVID-19 infections continue to rise. In most states, the dates to enroll are November 1 through December 15. Some states with their own exchanges have extended enrollment periods.
While some state exchanges offered a special enrollment period to residents who’ve lost their employer-based insurance due to COVID-19, the federal exchange has repeatedly refused to do so. Many people aren’t aware that losing employer-based insurance is considered a life change which makes them eligible for a special enrollment period to get insured.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, upwards of 27 million Americans may have lost health insurance during this pandemic. While some of those have been able to enroll in their state-based exchanges, and others may have qualified under Medicaid Expansion if their state opted for that, potentially millions of others need to enroll and this is the time to do it.
Unfortunately, the ACA’s advertising and education budgets have been slashed by over 90%, leaving the program largely unable to promote itself. Without that promotion, many Americans lack a clear understanding of how and when to enroll for the coming year. Therefore, it is up to each and every one of us to make sure our friends and family know that the exchanges open on November 1st. At a time when so much is happening, and healthcare is such an important issue, make sure the word of mouth gets out there.
Healthcare Is On The Ballot
This November, it is vital that we both vote and enroll in the ACA. Make your voice heard, both at the ballot box, and among your neighbors and loved ones, letting them know the exchanges are open. This election will have a massive impact on a great many things, including, obviously, the ACA. A strong enrollment period, showing the government just how many people depend on the ACA for their healthcare, has never been more important.
To find help to get enrolled near you, go to the Get Covered America Connector. Or log onto or call healthcare.gov. Your health and the health of your friends and family is too important to let this pass you by.