Governor renews call for Trump to allow special health insurance enrollment period

It has been 10 days (this is being posted on March 22, 2020) since Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) Director Anita Fox called on the Trump administration to allow for a special enrollment period (www.healthcare.gov) under the Affordable Care Act to allow more Americans to sign up for coverage and help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“During this crisis, we must do everything we can to ensure access to quality, affordable health care,” said Whitmer. “That’s why we have called on the president to allow for a special enrollment period. It is more important than ever for Michiganders to know they have health insurance coverage that will pay for them to be tested and treated for COVID-19.

Michigan and 32 other states with federally-facilitated marketplaces need the Trump administration to allow the state to open enrollment. As of todayMarch 22, 2020, nine states who operate state-based exchanges have opened special enrollment periods to allow people to sign up for health insurance coverage.

Since Whitmer called for a special enrollment period, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania have also called on the president to take action.

After Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria devastated communities across the Southern United States, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a special enrollment period for those impacted by the hurricanes. Special enrollment periods have also been used to respond to more personal situations such as house fires or domestic violence.

“The president should do what’s best for Americans and allow for a special enrollment period while we combat the spread of COVID-19,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “Michiganders need leaders who will do everything they can to ensure quality, affordable care during times like this. It’s the smart thing to do, and it’s the right thing to do.”

As of March 22, 2020, Michigan has 787 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19. Patients with confirmed infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The best prevention for viruses, such as influenza, the common cold or COVID-19 is to:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

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