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Compliance Corner

Healthcare Reform

Biden Administration Issues Executive Order to Strengthen the ACA and Create a Special Enrollment Period

On January 28, 2021, the president signed an executive order instructing federal agencies to examine their regulations in order to find ways to strengthen the ACA. In addition, this order will create a special enrollment period (SEP) in the federal health insurance marketplace, from February 15, 2021, to May 15, 2021.

The order directs agencies to review:

  • Policies that undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions, including complications related to COVID-19.
  • Demonstrations and waivers under Medicaid and the ACA that may reduce coverage or undermine the programs, including work requirements.
  • Policies that undermine the Health Insurance Marketplace or other markets for health insurance.
  • Policies that make it more difficult to enroll in Medicaid and the ACA.
  • Policies that reduce affordability of coverage or financial assistance, including for dependents.

The order also revokes Executive Order 13765, which announced the Trump Administration’s intent to repeal the ACA. That order was discussed in the January 24, 2017, edition of Compliance Corner. The order also revoked Executive Order 13813, which encouraged agencies to expand access to AHPs and allow coverage sales across state lines. That order was discussed in the October 17, 2017, edition of Compliance Corner. Finally, the order requires agencies to review any policies and regulations issued as a result of those two orders and consider repealing, revising or rescinding them.

While the creation of the SEP will affect individuals that will enroll on the marketplace, employers should be mindful of this extension in case there are employees who seek to drop coverage under their plans to take advantage of the SEP. Specifically, the permissible qualifying event for a revocation due to enrollment in a qualified plan will allow an employee to drop their employer’s plan mid-year if they intend to enroll in the marketplace.

Since this order includes directives to agencies to act, details regarding implementation have not yet been worked out. We will keep an eye on developments and report them as they occur.

Announcement »
Executive Order »

View this article on NFP.com.

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