On Friday, September 17, 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced an expanded open enrollment period for people signing up for or renewing their health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Consumers will have an extra 30 days to review and choose health plans through Open Enrollment, which will run from November 1, 2021, through January 15, 2022, on HealthCare.gov. CMS is also expanding services provided by Federally-facilitated
Marketplace (FFM) Navigators—experts who help consumers, especially those in underserved communities, understand their benefits and rights, review options, and enroll in Marketplace coverage.

CMS is extending its “Champions for Coverage” program that includes over 1,000 local organizations involved in providing outreach and education about the Health Insurance Marketplace and how consumers can enroll in coverage through HealthCare.gov, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

As a Champion, participants will have access to resources to help reach out to the uninsured including, access to “Event in a Box” resources and digital toolkits to host outreach and engagement activities in your community; fact sheets on health coverage and affordability; information about how to connect people to Navigators; social media content to share with your followers; and email updates with the latest news and resources. CMS Administrator Brooks-LaSure said, “We invite national and local organizations representing uninsured communities to join the Biden-Harris Administration as we work to share the peace of mind that comes with health coverage.”

The Trump Administration had taken actions to narrow the window for open enrollment. They had also reduced funding and help with cuts to the ACA navigator program. The Biden Administration is expanding the efforts of the navigators. Four times as many Navigators—1,500 in all—will be available for consumers who use HealthCare.gov for the 2022 plan year. Navigators in FFMs will be able to provide consumers with information and assistance on post-enrollment topics, such as the Marketplace-eligibility appeals process and Marketplace-related components of premium tax credit reconciliation.

CMS will connect the navigator work to the Champions for Coverage program. Organizations can learn more about becoming Champions for Coverage by visiting: https://marketplace.cms.gov/technical-assistance-resources/assister-programs/champion.

State Marketplaces with their own eligibility and enrollment platforms will be able to set their own annual Open Enrollment Period end dates, so long as these dates are on or after December 15, 2021. More details on these and other components of the 2022 Payment Notice can be found in the fact sheet available here: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/patient-protection-and-affordable-care-act-updating-payment-parameters-section-1332-waiver.