Special Enrollment Period (SEP) in Response to COVID-19

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Special Enrollment Period (SEP) in Response to COVID-19
February 15 – May 15, 2021

You can enroll in an ACA Health Insurance Marketplace Plan.

Beginning February 15, 2021 through May 15, 2021, a new Special Enrollment Period (SEP) allows you to purchase and enroll in an ACA Marketplace plan.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Biden-Harris administration reopened the federal marketplace to help millions of people, including Illinoisans, who’ve lost job-based health coverage, experienced health issues due to COVID-19, or are uninsured for any reason.

If you don’t have health insurance coverage or want to change your current ACA Marketplace plan, this is your opportunity to purchase and enroll in a new plan.

Get Covered Illinois encourages you to SHOP and ENROLL here for an ACA Marketplace plan.

You can get free enrollment assistance and find out if you qualify for financial assistance.


Still have questions about the new Special Enrollment Period (SEP) in Response to COVID-19? 

Check our FAQs to find answers!

What is a Special Enrollment Period (SEP)?

A Special Enrollment Period (SEP) is a an opportunity for Illinoisans to purchase and enroll in an health plan sold on the ACA Health Insurance Marketplace.
 
These are the types of SEPs currently available:
  1. 2021 COVID-19 SEP 
  2. Display Error SEP – you will receive a letter from your health plan notifying you of the specific display error that appeared on Healthcare.gov.  
  3. Qualifying Life Event SEP 

How do I know if I am eligible for the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) in Response to COVID-19?

If you don’t have health insurance coverage or want to change your current ACA Marketplace health plan, you can SHOP and ENROLL here for an ACA Marketplace plan. You can also get free enrollment help and find out if you may qualify for financial assistance.

Please note, if you’re changing from your current ACA Marketplace plan to a new one, your new coverage will be prospective. This means you may begin the new plan on the next available coverage effective date. Contact your new insurer for details.

Do I need to provide any documentation to prove that I qualify for the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) in Response to COVID-19?

​Unlike other SEPs, the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) in Response to COVID-19 does not require additional proof or documentation to purchase and enroll in an ACA Marketplace health plan.

How do I know if I am eligible for an SEP based on a Plan Display Error?

If your insurer contacted you because there was a Display Error in its plan information on HealthCare.gov at the time you enrolled, then you are eligible for an SEP. Your insurer likely included an explanation of what was inaccurately displayed about your plan and an explanation or description of the correct plan information.

I received a letter in the mail about a display error on Healthcare.gov regarding my plan. What do I need to do next?

You do not need to take any action if you wish to remain enrolled in your health plan with the corrected benefits described in the letter.

If you want to change to a different plan, you can call the Marketplace help line at 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325), and a customer service representative will help guide you through your coverage options.

The letter I received about a display error on Healthcare.gov, mentioned prospective and retrospective coverage. What are the differences between prospective and retrospective coverage start dates?

Prospective coverage:

If you choose this option, your previous premium payments will not be refunded, and you will need to start paying for the new coverage.

If you select another plan with your current insurer, the amount you have already paid towards your annual deductible and annual maximum out-of-pocket will be transferred to your new plan.

If you select a new plan with different insurer, the annual deductibles and annual maximum out-of-pocket limit will restart at zero, upon your new enrollment effective date.

Retrospective coverage:

If you choose a new plan with a different insurer and choose a retrospective coverage effective date, then your existing issuer will refund any premiums paid by you and will reverse all claims paid under the initial plan.

Your new insurer will collect your new portion of premium and will be responsible for all covered services. You will need to pay premiums directly to the new insurer for all months of coverage back to the initial effective date.

Will my deductible and annual maximum out-of-pocket limit be affected when I change plans?

Your annual deductibles and annual maximum out-of-pocket limit will restart at zero, upon your new enrollment date. Your new plan will be responsible for all covered services after you have selected your new enrollment date.

What are the "qualifing life events" that make me eligible for an SEP?

Losing your job-based health coverage, getting married or divorced, having a baby, adopting a child, turning 26 and no longer eligible for your parent’s health insurance, moving to a new zip code or county are included in the list qualifying life events explained here.

How can I enroll in an ACA Marketplace health plan?

You can start your search here to get free enrollment help and to find out if you qualify for financial assistance.

You can also call (800) 318-2596 to speak to a customer service representative.

Once I enroll in a plan, how soon will coverage begin?

​After you select a plan and enroll, you may begin the new plan on the next available coverage effective date. In most instances, this will be first day of the month. Contact your insurer for details. 

What happens if I have health insurance now, but I lose my coverage after the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) in Response to COVID-19 ends on May 15th?

You may be eligible for other SEPs, such as the Qualifying Life Event SEP.

Also, you may qualify for Medicaid, or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). You can click on Shop/Enroll to answer three questions to help us guide you to the ACA Marketplace or to Medicaid.