Biden announces special ObamaCare enrollment period: What to know
Biden calls health care 'a right, not a privilege'
President Biden touted health care as "a right, not a privilege" on Monday as he announced that the federal health insurance marketplace will reopen until May 15 in light of the coronavirus crisis.
"Starting today and running through May 15, 2021, we are opening HealthCare.gov for all Americans to have the opportunity to sign up for health insurance," Biden said in a statement. "Now, everyone will be able to use a special enrollment period to help secure some peace of mind as we work to beat the pandemic and strengthen and build on the Affordable Care Act."
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"That is especially critical in the midst of a deadly pandemic that has already taken the lives of more than 470,000 of our fellow Americans and infected more than one out of every 12 additional Americans, often with devastating consequences to their health," Biden continued.
Biden hammered former President Donald Trump on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic throughout the 2020 campaign.
In January, Biden signed a pair of executive orders expanding access to the Affordable Care Act during the pandemic. The actions added to the spate of executive moves taken by Biden during his first week in office to reverse his Republican predecessor's policies.
One of Biden's orders created a special enrollment period on HealthCare.gov. The annual enrollment period for HealthCare.gov closed in mid-December for Americans living in the 36 states that rely on the federal marketplace.
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Under current law, people who lose their job and employer-based insurance qualify for a special enrollment period through ObamaCare, but must provide proof that they lost their coverage. By establishing a special enrollment period, the White House is allowing people who chose not to buy health insurance last year but want it now would have been eligible to participate.
"Health care is a right, not a privilege – and I will do everything in my power to ensure that all Americans have access to the quality, affordable health care they deserve," Biden said in a statement on Monday.
Biden used the announcement to push his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.
"The American Rescue Plan will also take big steps to lower health costs and expand access to care for all Americans, including those who have lost their jobs," Biden said in a statement. "It will increase federal subsidies and decrease premiums in order to ensure that no one pays more than 8.5 percent of their income to purchase meaningful and comprehensive health coverage. And it incentivizes states to expand coverage to an additional four million people with low incomes, and provides states the opportunity to extend coverage for a year to low-income women who have recently given birth."
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FOX Business' Megan Henney contributed to this report