Trump decides against reopening health care enrollment during pandemic
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Despite President Trump’s warning of a painful spike in COVID-19 cases over the next two weeks, the Trump administration will not reopen Affordable Care Act exchanges that would allow millions of uninsured Americans to purchase health insurance during the pandemic.
The exchanges are online marketplaces for health insurance. The regular annual enrollment period closed months ago, and the administration had previously said it was considering launching a special enrollment period in light of the outbreak, following pressure from Democratic lawmakers and health insurers.
But a White House official said Tuesday that the administration decided against it.
The decision affects Americans in about two-thirds of states, including populous states like Texas and Florida, whose health care marketplaces are run by the federal government. Of the states that run their own marketplaces – 12 plus the District of Columbia – all but one have opened special enrollment periods in response to the pandemic.
If you’ve lost your employer-based health insurance recently, you’ll still be able to sign up for insurance. But the many hospitality and retail workers whose employers never offered insurance in the first place may be out of luck.
“If you’re uninsured and if you didn’t have insurance through your job, you won’t qualify — even if you’ve lost your job. The trigger is whether you’ve lost your insurance coverage,” said Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms.
The administration is reportedly “exploring other options” for uninsured Americans.
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
What are the details of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan?
The $1.9 trillion plan would aim to speed up the vaccine rollout and provide financial help to individuals, states and local governments and businesses. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration, while advancing his objective of reopening most schools by the spring. It would also include $1,400 checks for most Americans. Get the rest of the specifics here.
What kind of help can small businesses get right now?
A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.
What does the hiring situation in the U.S. look like as we enter the new year?
New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.
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