Special health care enrollment period secured by Kathy Castor, Maxwell Frost, Darren Soto

Special health care enrollment period secured by Kathy Castor, Maxwell Frost, Darren Soto

Americans can take advantage of a special health care enrollment period following pressure by three Florida lawmakers.

US Rep. Darren Sototo Kissimmee Democrat, led a letter urging President Joe Biden and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to allow individuals to access the Health Insurance Marketplace outside the normal enrollment period. A need existed after the elimination of the continuous coverage requirement authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the message explained.

Nine lawmakers co-signed the letter, including US Reps. Kathy Beavera Tampa Democrat, and Maxwell Frostan Orlando Democrat.

“We have concerns that those still eligible for Medicaid could lose coverage due to administrative barriers in place in their states, such as long wait times or multiple unnecessary paperwork requests,” the letter reads. “We encourage the Administration to put in place policies to mitigate these barriers.”

The plea produced rapid results. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a special enrollment period from March 31 this year until July 31, 2024 for those affected by the change.

Frost’s office said the decision marked a “huge health care win” for more than a million Floridians at risk of losing health care coverage when the continuous coverage requirement expires at the end of March.

“Thanks to the quick work from the Biden Administration, our calls for a special enrollment period have been answered,” said Rep. Frost. “Now over 1 million of our fellow Floridians can breathe a sigh of relief and rest assured they won’t go without the health care coverage they deserve.”

The CMS order does not change the expiration of the coverage requirement but will allow those affected the ability to find a new plan in the marketplace and enroll, and to still be eligible for any subsidy. The agency in the meantime will monitor states and ensure compliance with federal law during each state’s “unwinding period” as the requirements time out.

“States may need to make programmatic and operational changes to eligibility and enrollment policies, procedures, systems, and operations and consider adopting alternative strategies and mitigation plans to ensure compliance,” the order from CMS reads. “CMS is available to consult with states as they prepare for and resume renewals and other eligibility determinations. States may contact their CMS state lead for assistance.”

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