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Virginians can take advantage of new ACA enrollment period

Published: Jan. 29, 2021 at 3:34 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - In his latest round of executive action, President Joe Biden turned his attention to health care, signing two executive orders: one to extend Affordable Care Act enrollment and one to bolster Medicaid.

“Of all times that we need to reinstate access to, affordability of and extend access to Medicaid is now in the middle of this COVID crisis,” said the President.

Due to COVID-related job losses, an estimated five million more Americans now qualify for coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

“Whether you live or die should not be based upon how much money you have,” said Rhonda Seltz.

She and Lois Caliri are enrollment navigators with the free service Enroll Virginia. They help people in the Roanoke and New River Valleys sign up for coverage.

“There’s no cookie cutter approach,” said Caliri. “We look at each individual’s needs, we look at each individual’s budget.”

The extended ACA enrollment period runs from February 15 through May 15.

“We are helping more and more people who have never had to shop for insurance before. They were relying on employer-based coverage.,” said Deepak Madala with the Virginia Poverty Law Center. He oversees the Enroll Virginia initiative.

Madala says 90,000 Virginians lost their employer-sponsored health coverage in 2020, and for many, the last ACA enrollment period in November and December fell by the wayside.

“People struggle to get even unemployment benefits figured out first, or housing situations, and so, hopefully once they’ve gotten those things understood, this can be the next step, to now have that second chance to get their health insurance figured out,” said Madala.

Enroll Virginia is offering free appointments in person, over the phone, or via Zoom.

You can also search for health care plans yourself on healthcare.gov.

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