District of Columbia: DC Health Link announces *official* #COVID19 Special Enrollment Period thru 6/15

District of Columbia

A couple of weeks ago I noted that while the District of Columbia hasn't launched an official Coronavirus-specific Special Enrollment Period (SEP), they do have a fairly open ended SEP available for uninsured residents who didn't know that the District had reinstated the ACA individual mandate penalty when they file their District taxes:

Individual Responsibility Requirement SEPs: The District of Columbia enacted a local individual responsibility requirement, modeled after the previous federal requirement, which became effective January 1, 2019. A SEP will be available to residents who learn about the individual responsibility requirement during the tax filing season this year, giving those residents a 60-day window to enroll in individual market coverage from when they learn of the individual responsibility requirement or based on their tax filing deadline. A separate SEP will be available to new District residents, giving them a 60-day window to enroll in coverage upon becoming a District resident.

Until now, that's where things stood; while every other state-based exchange (except for Idaho) has issued a formal COVID-19 SEP, DC's status remained with this awkward-to-explain version. Even California and Maryland, which had their own non-COVID-19 SEPs going on, have since converted/expanded those to specifically address the pandemic, but DC's remained as is.

That just changed this morning (note: they haven't posted a formal press release yet, nor is there a deadline listed as of yet, though I'm told that'll be decided upon soon...):

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Enrolling in Health Insurance Coverage

Does DC Health Link have a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Special Enrollment Period?

  • Yes. Anyone who is uninsured can enroll. Enroll Now

Can I get health insurance now in DC if I am uninsured?

Do I need to have symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to get coverage now?

  • No. Any resident who is uninsured can enroll.

If I'm losing coverage from my job, can I get coverage on DC Health Link?

  • Yes. Don’t wait until your coverage from your job ends. Enroll Now

When will health insurance coverage start?

  • Your coverage starts the first of the month after you pick your plan. For example, if you sign up in March, your coverage starts April 1.

What if I need help paying for health insurance?

  • Depending on your income, you may qualify for Medicaid at no cost to you or qualify for monthly premium reductions for private health insurance.

UPDATE: OK, I've received confirmation from the DC Health Link that this SEP runs through June 15th.

UPDATE 3/24: OK, it took a few days but the DC Health Link has posted a formal press release. Not a whole lot of new info but here it is for the record:

DC Residents Without Health Insurance Can Get Covered Now

Responding to COVID-19 public health emergency, DC Health Link makes it even easier for DC residents to sign up for coverage now

Washington, DC­­ – Uninsured District of Columbia residents can shop and enroll in private health insurance at DCHealthLink.com. A Special Enrollment Period (SEP) has been in place and is currently set to continue through June 15, 2020. Enrollment is just as easy as during open enrollment: visit DCHealthLink.com to shop, compare, and enroll in coverage. All plans cover diagnosis, testing, and treatment for COVID-19 without cost-sharing.

There are also new resources available on DCHealthLink.com for DC Health Link enrollees about how DC Health Link plans cover COVID-19. DC Health Link launched a Coronavirus page on March 13th where DC Health Link enrollees can find a simple summary chart highlighting how DC Health Link insurers cover COVID-19 related services.

More information on new DC Health Link Coronavirus resources.