Affordable Care Act

People interested in obtaining or changing their health care insurance must make adjustments by Aug. 15 under a special enrollment period. 

President Biden signed an executive order to reopen the Federal Marketplace because of the pandemic, which caused many Americans to become uninsured or underinsured. The federal government did this to allow the millions of people who are uninsured and eligible for Affordable Care Act policies to sign up for coverage.

During this special enrollment period, which began in February, more than 2 million Americans have signed up for 2021 coverage, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Who can sign up?

Individuals and families are eligible if they are:

  • Uninsured
  • Underinsured
  • Already enrolled in a plan and watch to switch to a different one
  • On a COBRA plan and want to purchase a new plan

There is also a new benefit that began July 1 for anyone who received unemployment benefits this year. They may be eligible for a $0 plan.

People interested in new or different coverage must apply during the limited special enrollment period, which ends Aug. 15.

More than 1.1 million North Carolinians, or 11.3 percent of the state’s population, did not have health insurance in 2019, according to the N.C. Justice Center. This was higher than the national uninsured rate of 9.2 percent at the time and was an increase of 65,000 people from 2018. These numbers reflect insurance coverage during a time of economic growth.

An estimated 13.4 percent of North Carolinians younger than 65 did not have health insurance as of 2019 according to the US Census Bureau, compared to 9.5 percent of people the same age lacking health insurance nationally. In Mecklenburg County, 13.2 percent of people younger than 65 did not have health insurance.

More health care options available

The number of available plans to choose from has grown. In North Carolina, there were 91,166 plan selections on the Marketplace from February 15 through June 30. In 2020 during this period, there were 32,697 plan selections and in 2019, there were 23,634.

Nationally, of the new and returning consumers who selected a plan between April 1 and mid-July, about a third selected a plan that costs $10 or less per month, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

For more information:

In North Carolina, current Blue Cross NC members needing assistance can: 

• Reach out to their authorized Blue Cross NC agent

• Call Customer Service at 1-888-206-4697

• Visit to contact the insurer via a secure inbox message or chat

• Visit (If you are an On Marketplace member and want to change your plan)

Those interested in learning more about Blue Cross NC can:

• Visit website to see plans and prices available

• Speak to a sales representative by calling 1-800-324-4973, available Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m

Current and new members can also get help in-person at one of the Blue Cross NC Centers near Raleigh, Charlotte or Boone.

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