The DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority’s executive board said it has adopted a recommendation from its Standing Advisory Board to extend the Special Enrollment Periods for COVID-19 for residents in need of health insurance and for employees and dependents of employers already covered on DC Health Link to Jan. 31.

“We want to make sure District residents and small businesses have every available opportunity to access quality affordable health insurance coverage — especially during this COVID-19 public health emergency,” said Diane Lewis, chair of the executive board. “We heard from District residents and small business owners who told us about the economic hardships they are experiencing. Our health is too important to risk going without health insurance coverage, and we encourage anyone who’s uninsured to visit and sign up for coverage today.”

When Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a public health emergency for COVID-19 in March, the exchange responded by eliminating hurdles and opening enrollment for uninsured District residents, their families, and employees and dependents who work for employers covered on DC Health Link.

For example, if a person enrolls in September, coverage can begin either Sept. 1 or Oct. 1, depending on the date that person chooses for the effective date.

In 2020, 4,778 District residents enrolled through SEPs to-date compared 4,005 people enrolling during the same time period last year in individual coverage — 19% higher than last year.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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