President Biden signed an Executive Order (EO) last week that reopens the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s Federal insurance marketplace for a special enrollment period and removes barriers to enrollment in Medicaid and the health insurance marketplaces.

The EO directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reopen Federal enrollment from February 15 to May 15, 2021, to help uninsured individuals and families access coverage during the ongoing public health crisis. While enrollment ended in December for most of the country, enrollment has remained open since November 1 in New York State, which operates its own marketplace. The EO directs HHS to evaluate all existing regulations and policies to ensure they do not thwart, reduce coverage, or otherwise undermine the intent of all eligible participants to enroll in the Medicaid program.

The EO also directs Federal agencies with Medicaid and ACA authorities and responsibilities to evaluate and propose changes to Trump-era policies that may prevent enrollment in coverage, including those that:

  • Undermine protections for people with preexisting conditions (including complications related to COVID-19)
  • Undermine health insurance marketplaces or individual, small group, or large group health insurance markets
  • Impede individuals or families from accessing coverage
  • Reduce the affordability of coverage or financial assistance (including for dependents)

For more information about the EO, please see the White House’s release.