President Joe Biden on Thursday signed an executive order extending a special open enrollment period for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, helping those who no longer have health insurance as a result of losing a job during the pandemic.
The directive allows uninsured Americans to apply at HealthCare.gov for subsidized benefits during a special sign-up window, as health officials continue to urge caution amid a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and a rollout of new vaccines.
The new special enrollment period will begin on Monday, Feb. 15 and continue through Saturday, May 15.
Under the ACA, the healthcare marketplace offers subsidized coverage for Americans regardless of medical history or preexisting conditions, which includes COVID-19.
Health experts say the number of uninsured Americans has increased in the wake of coronavirus-related layoffs, with some estimating approximately 5 million to 10 million losing health insurance coverage.
The U.S. Congressional Budget Office projects that nearly 32 million Americans are uninsured, with about two-thirds eligible for subsidized coverage through the marketplace.
Learn more about the special enrollment period at HealthCare.gov.