Coldwater, MI – The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is advising that extended enrollment periods are available to help residents who qualify under existing rules take advantage of low or no-cost health care coverage options through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many of our Tri-County residents to lose their health insurance and this crisis has also made it more difficult for people to purchase replacement coverage. If you lost your coverage, but missed your enrollment window, you still have options to protect your health and the health of your family.
• The first opportunity to enroll is available to people who experienced a qualifying life event this year, such as job loss or birth of a child. Typically, consumers have 60 days prior to the loss of coverage and 60 days after coverage ends to purchase coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Under the newly-implemented Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Special Enrollment Period (SEP), people who lost their health coverage after Jan. 1, 2020, but failed to enroll in coverage due to the impacts of a declared national emergency, will have extra time to enroll in health coverage if they live in an area affected by a disaster declared by the FEMA. Currently all states, including Michigan, are covered under the COVID-19 pandemic national declaration.
• Additional Special Enrollment Periods are available to people who have lost off-Marketplace coverage or whose income has decreased. These SEPs allow individuals to enroll in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace and to take advantage of premium tax credits for which they may now be eligible. To determine eligibility for a SEP, visit https://www.healthcare.gov/screener/.

“Do not delay in enrolling in health care coverage if you have lost your health insurance,” says Rebecca Burns, Health Officer at the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency. “This program and these options are here to assist residents during this unprecedented time, and we want your family to stay healthy. The cost of health care should never keep you away from seeing a doctor during a time of need.”

To determine eligibility and review the new enrollment period options, including the upcoming 2021 plan year regular annual open enrollment period, which runs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15, 2020, visit the Health Insurance Marketplace at http://www.healthcare.gov or call the Marketplace Call Center at 800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325). Depending on income and your situation, you may qualify for cost sharing reductions, premium tax credits, coverage for your children, or Medicaid. Contact DIFS toll free at 877-999-6442 or email at DIFS-HICAP@michigan.gov if you need assistance.

The Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency is committed to promoting wellness, preventing disease, providing health care, and protecting the environment. For additional information, contact your local health department office or visit http://www.bhsj.org and follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BHSJCHA.