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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
Millions of Americans are unemployed, but businesses say they are having trouble hiring. Why?
This economic crisis is unusual compared to traditional recessions, according to Daniel Zhao, senior economist with Glassdoor. “Many workers are still sitting out of the labor force because of health concerns or child care needs, and that makes it tough to find workers regardless of what you’re doing with wages or benefits,” Zhao said. “An extra dollar an hour isn’t going to make a cashier with preexisting conditions feel that it’s safe to return to work.” This can be seen in the restaurant industry: Some workers have quit or are reluctant to apply because of COVID-19 concerns, low pay, meager benefits and the stress that comes with a fast-paced, demanding job. Restaurants have been willing to offer signing bonuses and temporary wage increases. One McDonald’s is even paying people $50 just to interview.
Could waiving patents increase the global supply of COVID-19 vaccines?
India and South Africa have introduced a proposal to temporarily suspend patents on COVID-19 vaccines. Backers of the plan say it would increase the supply of vaccines around the world by allowing more countries to produce them. Skeptics say it’s not that simple. There’s now enough supply in the U.S that any adult who wants a shot should be able to get one soon. That reality is years away for most other countries. More than 100 countries have backed the proposal to temporarily waive COVID-19 vaccine patents. The U.S isn’t one of them, but the White House has said it’s considering the idea.
Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?
As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.
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