During public health emergencies, it is vital that American citizens have access to adequate health insurance coverage. Being covered by a health insurance plan ensures access to primary care doctors, specialists, hospitals, and pharmaceuticals. In the past year, the American Kidney Fund advocated for a national special enrollment period (SEP) during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that all people had access to comprehensive health insurance created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and sold through the Marketplace/Exchange. After a year of advocacy, the Biden Administration opened the special enrollment period on February 15.
On January 28, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA), and Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure that special enrollment periods would automatically open during public health emergencies. This legislation, entitled the Ensuring Coverage in Public Health Emergencies Act of 2021, would trigger a special enrollment period any time there is a public health emergency declaration.
The COVID-19 pandemic showed us why public health emergencies warrant special enrollment periods. During the last year, millions of Americans lost their jobs or had reduced hours at work, which affected their access to employer sponsored insurance. Others who had been uninsured or who missed their open enrollment period had no options if their state didn't require an SEP. Americans had to figure out their health insurance coverage during the same time they were losing their jobs. Needing an act by the President is an extra step and makes it more difficult to expedite access to needed health insurance.
Please email your U.S. Representative using the form below and ask them to cosponsor this important legislation.