In mid-April, I received a call from a 62-year-old woman named Alice who had been laid off from her job quite a while back. She was paying around $650 each month to maintain her COBRA coverage. Turns out she got my number from her brother, Carl, whom I had helped enroll into a Marketplace plan. He, too, was paying a lot of money each month for COBRA coverage after his employer had cut his hours in half, making him ineligible for employer-offered coverage. By enrolling into a subsidized Marketplace plan, Carl saved more than $400 a month in premium costs. He hoped I could also help his sister. Unfortunately, she called me just a few weeks after open enrollment had ended.
Normally, this would mean that she would have to wait until the next open enrollment period or until she exhausted her COBRA coverage before she could qualify for a Special Enrollment Period which would allow her to enroll into a much more affordable Marketplace plan. It seemed she had missed this window of opportunity – that is until HHS announced new Special Enrollment Periods for folks currently enrolled into COBRA coverage.