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Limited COVID-19 pandemic open insurance enrollment extended to May 15


Washington state residents who qualify and need health insurance for 2021 have a limited time to enroll under a new COVID-19 open enrollment period tied to emergency impacts from the pandemic. The open enrollment started on Feb. 15 and will end on May 15.

With job losses and the connected loss of employer-provided insurance benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Biden Administration opened up the healthcare.gov health benefit exchange to give people who need health insurance a way to get covered, said a news release from Aging & Long Term Care of Eastern Washington (ALTCEW).

The healthcare.gov website has additional information but directs state residents to the Washington Healthplanfinder website to apply and enroll. The Washington Health Benefit Exchange offers the same COVID-19-related special enrollment period from Feb. 15 to May 15.

During this time, people who qualify and don’t already have insurance through the Washington Healthplanfinder will be able to submit an application and enroll in a qualified health plan.

ALTCEW is answering insurance questions regarding these updates for seniors ages 65 and older and disabled populations that the agency serves. People who are in those categories can call the agency at (509) 960-7281.

Other Spokane-area residents needing resources for insurance coverage can get assistance through Better Health Together, an organization that tackles health inequities throughout Eastern Washington. More information is available at betterhealthtogether.org or by calling one of its navigators at (509) 340-9008.

The plans cover essential benefits, including doctor and hospital visits, prescription drugs, mental health treatment and maternity care. Additionally, consumers receive free preventive care services such as immunizations.



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