Biden is expected to sign an executive order that makes it easier for people to sign up for subsidized health care plans.
United States President Joe Biden plans to open a special period to purchase health care coverage under the old Barack Obama-era Affordable Care Act (ACA) for people in need of coverage during the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden is expected to sign an executive order on Thursday reopening insurance markets HealthCare.gov, a portal that connects Americans to subsidized health plans, said two people familiar with the plan, details of which were still being finalized. They spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to discuss the pending order before an official announcement.
Although the number of uninsured Americans has grown up Due to job losses due to the COVID-19 economic crisis, the Trump administration has resisted calls to allow a “special enrollment period” for uninsured people in the pandemic.
Failure to repeal and replace “Obamacare” because it repeatedly promised to do was one of former President Donald Trump’s bitterest disappointments. His administration continued to try to find ways to limit the program or untangle it entirely. A Supreme Court ruling on Trump’s final decision challenge to the Affordable Care Act is expected this year.
The White House has not commented on Biden’s expected order, but the two people familiar with the plan said the new listing period will not go into effect immediately. Instead, the White House wants to give the Department of Health and Human Services time to mount a marketing campaign and insurers to prepare for an influx of new customers.
The Obama-era health law covers over 23 million people through a mix of subsidized private insurance sold in all states, and expanded Medicaid adopted by 38 states, with southern states being the major exception. . Coverage is available for people who do not have employment-based health insurance, with the Medicaid extension aimed at those on low incomes.
Biden’s order would directly affect HealthCare.gov, the federal insurance market currently serving 36 states. The market concluded a successful annual registration season in December, with registrations for 2021 increasing by around 7%. Final figures for this year that include insurance markets directly managed by states will be available soon.
The opening up of insurance markets is also likely to lead to an increase in Medicaid enrollments since people who qualify for this program are automatically referred.
The special enrollment opportunity is just a down payment on health insurance for Biden, who has pledged to use former President Barack Obama’s health care law to push the United States toward a coverage for all. For that, he would need congressional approval, and opposition to the health care bill still runs deep among Republicans.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki reported on Tuesday that Biden is also considering limiting or reversing actions by the Trump administration that allowed states to impose work requirements on able-bodied low-income adults like condition to get Medicaid. Such rules are seen as a way to suppress program rolls.
“President Biden does not believe, in principle, that it should be difficult … for people to access health care,” she said. “He was not in the past, and is not in favor today, to put in place additional restrictions.”
Of some 28 million Americans uninsured before the pandemic, the Nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that more than 16 million were eligible for some form of subsidized coverage through health law.
Experts agree that the number of uninsured people has increased due to layoffs, possibly 5 to 10 million, but authoritative estimates await government studies due later this year.
Biden’s expected order was first reported by the Washington Post.