The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) created an emergency Special Enrollment Period (SEP) due to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) that would allow individuals and families to apply and enroll in the coverage they need, after President Biden Executive Order issued last month, January 28, 2021.


Some of the life changes that can qualify you for SEP are changes in the household, such as getting married, having a baby, adopted a child, or placing a child for foster care, changes in residence, or loss of health insurance.


This SEP will be available to individuals in the 36 states served by Marketplaces that use the platform. CMS will conduct outreach activities to encourage those eligible to enroll in health coverage. At least 13 states and the District of Columbia, which operate their own Marketplace platforms, will be offering a similar opportunity, and CMS strongly encourages other states to do the same.


The SEP will be offered to individuals applying for new coverage or updating an existing application through, the Marketplace call center, or through direct enrollment channels. Coverage will begin the first day of the month following the date of plan selection.


This coverage began on February 15, 2021, and is available until May 15, 2021. CMS encourages new consumers and current enrollees to review their options and select coverage that best meets their individual and family needs. For those eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), they will be transferred to their state Medicaid and CHIP agencies for enrollment in those programs.


When sharing this announcement with clients, workers, and your network, consider using the following key messages:

  • People seeking health insurance can go to right now, until May 15th, because of a Special Enrollment Period.
  • 9 out of 10 people who enrolled got financial assistance.
  • 3 out of 4 currently enrolled can find plans for $50 or less.
  • Go to to learn more.
  • If you are recently uninsured due to a job loss or between jobs, find a plan at and keep it for as long as you need it.


For more information, visit For communication and outreach information, click here.