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Nearly 500,000 signed up for HealthCare.gov after losing other coverage

Roughly 487,000 people signed up for an Affordable Care Act exchange plan after losing other health coverage since the last open enrollment period ended in December, CMS said Thursday. That’s about 46% higher than sign-ups during the same period last year.

Sign-ups through a special enrollment period for people who lost minimum essential coverage rose sharply during April and remained high in May, suggesting that the enrollments were related to job losses due the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While the magnitude may be unclear, job losses due to COVID-19 have led to increased enrollments on HealthCare.gov,” CMS said in its report.

People who lose job-based minimum essential health coverage or experience another life event, such as getting married or moving to a new zip code, qualify for a special enrollment period in which they can choose a HealthCare.gov plan outside of the normal sign-up period.

The COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn that have left 20 million people unemployed was expected to result in a large number of people losing health insurance. One analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation projected that millions of those newly uninsured would likely qualify for subsidized exchange coverage or Medicaid.

According to CMS, 154,000 people chose a plan through a loss […]

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