Commonwealth of Virginia
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ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING URGES TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TO INSTATE SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIODS ON HEALTHCARE.GOV
~ Special enrollment periods on healthcare.gov will help millions of consumers with COVID-19 costs ~
RICHMOND (April 3, 2020) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today joined a coalition of 22 attorneys general in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), urging them to reconsider their shortsighted decision to deny a special enrollment period on HealthCare.gov during the current worldwide pandemic. In the letter, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues argue that the federal government should take action to make it possible for Americans across the country who are facing uncertainty as a result of COVID-19 to obtain the healthcare coverage that they need during this critical times.
“We are in unprecedented times and many Virginians are now facing unemployment and a lack of healthcare coverage in the middle of a pandemic,” said Attorney General Herring. “It is imperative that individuals who do not have health insurance are given the ability to obtain coverage during this time to protect both themselves and others. The Trump Administration should immediately instate special open enrollment periods to make sure that everyone who needs healthcare coverage has the ability to get it.”
In the letter, the attorneys general point out that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of individuals have lost their jobs—and with their jobs, their ability to pay for healthcare. Many people may be prevented from obtaining treatment because they lack healthcare coverage, or face financial ruin if they seek care. People working on the front lines in grocery stores, food service, transportation, and sanitation are suffering the brunt of the pandemic as they often lack health insurance and work jobs that do not provide sick leave. Because they are uninsured, they are less likely to have a regular place to obtain healthcare and are more likely to delay obtaining care due to fears of the cost. The Trump Administration has long touted choice and “informed healthcare decisions” as the bedrock of its healthcare policies, but now refuses to give Americans the option of obtaining comprehensive healthcare coverage to combat this unprecedented healthcare care crisis.
The attorneys general also highlight that a national solution to this problem requires federal action. While some states run their own health insurance exchanges and may independently extend enrollment, 38 states rely on HealthCare.gov to run their exchanges. The federal government has the legal ability to call for a special enrollment period, and must take decisive action so that people in those 38 states can obtain the healthcare they need during this critical time.
Joining Attorney General Herring in sending the letter are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
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