Skip to content

Health Insurance Special Enrollment Period (SEP) In Response to COVID-19 Happening Now Through August 15, 2021

By Mark Bailey, Jr.
Updated March 30, 2021
Originally published February 8, 2021

People wearing masks tap elbows safely while wearing masks

3/30/2021 Update

On March 23, 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it is extending access to a special enrollment period (SEP) through Exchanges on the federal platform and through agencies like The Bailey Group due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Originally available through May 15, 2021, the extended SEP provides three additional months for enrollment, allowing eligible individuals to enroll in Exchange coverage through Aug. 15, 2021.

As a result of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), additional premium cost savings is available through starting April 1, 2021, that may lower premium costs or allow individuals to enroll in a higher-level plan at the same cost. Also, beginning in early July, consumers who are eligible for unemployment compensation for any week during 2021 may be eligible for additional cost savings through the Exchange.

As always, our team of local health insurance advisors are here to help you sort through your coverage options with this special enrollment period and get enrolled. To start the process, click or tap the Start a Quote button on our website, call 904.671.0511 or email

President Joe Biden has signed two executive actions to strengthen Americans’ access to affordable health care. Among the actions is an executive order aimed at expanding enrollment in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid, and a memorandum rescinding regulations on reproductive health access.

Biden’s executive order on health care access is aimed to increase access to the Health Insurance Marketplace. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will open a “special enrollment period” in the Marketplace from Feb. 15 through May 15.

According to the White House, this enrollment period is intended to “give Americans that need health care coverage during this global pandemic the opportunity to sign up.”

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) says “consumers who are eligible and enroll under this SEP will be able to select a plan with coverage that starts prospectively the first of the month after plan selection.  Consumers will have 30 days after they submit their application to choose a plan. Current enrollees will be able to change to any available plan in their area without restriction to the same level of coverage as their current plan.”

Mark Bailey, Jr. is the Senior Marketing Manager of NFP's Atlantic region. Before joining the company, Mark was a production assistant on the tv show Glee and an on-air talent on 95.1 WAPE. He has over 10 years of experience in the insurance and corporate benefits space. Mark is an avid Jacksonville Jaguars fan and loves to spend his free time building custom mechanical keyboards.