Rejecting Special Enrollment Period Puts Americans at Increased Risk of COVID-19

April 1, 2020

Washington, D.C.—According to media reports, the administration has indicated it will not create a special enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act, to allow uninsured Americans to enroll in health coverage in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A statement from Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) follows:

“We would strongly urge the administration to reconsider this reported decision and allow uninsured Americans the opportunity to obtain health coverage through a special enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act during this rapidly accelerating pandemic.

“Access to timely and affordable health services is essential to curbing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting the health of all Americans, especially those with underlying health conditions who are at heightened risk such as cancer.

“While some states have made the decision to create special enrollment periods to accommodate an increased need for coverage, a number of states still rely on the federal health insurance exchanges. Where you live shouldn’t dictate if you live, and no American should have to weigh whether to seek care for this potentially life-threatening virus against the possibility of unaffordable medical bills.

“The health of our country is dependent on being able to access health care without delay – a need that is heightened as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads. The administration should reverse course and create a special enrollment period immediately.”

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Allison Miller
Director, Media Advocacy
Washington, D.C.
Alissa Crispino
Vice President, Media Advocacy & Communications
Washington, D.C.