COVID-19

Trump decides against reopening health care enrollment during pandemic

Rose Conlon Apr 1, 2020
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Joe Raedle/Getty Images
COVID-19

Trump decides against reopening health care enrollment during pandemic

Rose Conlon Apr 1, 2020
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

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’s going on with extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

The latest: President Donald Trump signed an executive action directing $400 extra a week in unemployment benefits. But will that aid actually reach people? It’s still unclear. Trump directed federal agencies to send $300 dollars in weekly aid, taken from the federal disaster relief fund, and called on states to provide an additional $100. But states’ budgets are stretched thin as it is.

What’s the latest on evictions?

For millions of Americans, things are looking grim. Unemployment is high, and pandemic eviction moratoriums have expired in states across the country. And as many people already know, eviction is something that can haunt a person’s life for years. For instance, getting evicted can make it hard to rent again. And that can lead to spiraling poverty.

Which retailers are requiring that people wear masks when shopping? And how are they enforcing those rules?

Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, CVS, Home Depot, Costco — they all have policies that say shoppers are required to wear a mask. When an employee confronts a customer who refuses, the interaction can spin out of control, so many of these retailers are telling their workers to not enforce these mandates. But, just having them will actually get more people to wear masks.

You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.

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