Pat Geraghty Full Transcript: Increasing Access to Care Through a Special Enrollment Period

Our country is starting to see some positive signs in the fight against COVID-19. There has been a consistent drop in new cases over the past three weeks across the United States. So far, 26 and a half million Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That means more Americans have been vaccinated than have tested positive for the virus since the first case was reported in January 2020.

But the pandemic continues to cause hardships in communities large and small across our country. Businesses are being forced to lay off employees or even close their doors all together. That’s added thousands of people each month to the growing list of those without health insurance.

No one should be forced to go without health care – especially right now. Our organization is playing an important role in providing relief.

The new administration issued an executive order to open a special enrollment period from February 15 to May 15 for people to buy an Affordable Care Act – or ACA – Marketplace plan to protect themselves and their families. This is an important step to getting more people the coverage they need and deserve.

A Kaiser Family Foundation study estimates there are 15 million people in the United States who qualify to purchase a Marketplace plan, including nearly 2 million in Florida who are subsidy eligible.

We know health insurance can be confusing, which causes many people to go without it. They take that risk not knowing they may qualify for a highly subsidized plan.

The impacts of COVID-19 make it more important than ever for individuals and families to have access to quality and affordable insurance. We are ramping up educational efforts across the state to make sure as many people as possible know they have affordable options. Our agents are committed to finding the right coverage for every need.

For example, a woman in the Panhandle was recently laid off due to cutbacks caused by COVID-19, leaving her without health insurance. This was especially critical because she has diabetes and a history of cancer.

An agent from our Florida Blue Center in the Panhandle helped her find an ACA plan with a zero-dollar deductible and small monthly premium. It also covered her pre-existing condition of diabetes.

The woman feared she was going to have to choose between paying for her mortgage and food, or paying for health insurance. She was grateful that was not the case.

When we talk about our mission of helping people and communities achieve better health – this is what we mean. It’s eliminating those impossible choices. It’s creating healthier communities, and right now – it’s keeping our neighbors protected from an undiscriminating virus.

As a health solutions company, we know we have a big responsibility. During this special enrollment period, our communities can count on us to ease the burden, remove the worry and be a trusted partner in good health.

About the Author

Pat Geraghty