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New York Open Enrollment Remains Open!

To our great surprise, we recently learned that Open Enrollment will remain open in New York through at least March 31, 2022. Although we are delighted for any New Yorkers who might take advantage of this extension, we are somewhat dismayed that this largesse seems something of a secret. As I write this copy, it is February 17th and the New York State of Health website home page tagline reads “Apply by February 15 for March 1 Coverage.” One can click through and submit an application, however. Sarah Gravelin, one of my colleagues, verified via a chat with a New York State of Health representative that open enrollment will continue through at least March 31, 2022.

To our knowledge, Open Enrollment is closed everywhere else in the country.

I am now editing this document on Monday, February 21st and writing to inform you that the New York State of Health finally updated its website home page on Saturday, February 19th, to reflect the fact that Open Enrollment remains open at least until the end of March. We assume there is a rationale for New York’s unique Open Enrollment extension. We just don’t know what the rationale is.

There has been an Open Enrollment “season” for individual coverage since the Affordable Care Act reforms became effective in 2014. This has been very political – a longer period when Barack Obama was president, a shorter period when Donald Trump was president, and the longest yet in 2021. 2021 was an anomaly because the Biden Administration reopened healthcare.gov through August 15th, 2021 due to COVID19. A handful of states with their own state Marketplace kept enrollment open into the fall and New York and California through the end of 2021. In sum, New York has had continuous Open Enrollment since November 1, 2020.

Again, although we are delighted for anyone who might benefit from New York’s indefinite extension, we do not understand why this information wasn’t clear for all those visiting the site before February 19th. We also despair that the Open Enrollment season is clearly influenced by politics and that varying enrollment periods lead to more confusion. Differences among states will remain but one would hope we could work toward something reasonable like a three- or four-month Open Enrollment period. After all, under the Trump administration Open Enrollment became as brief as six weeks. Six weeks is simply too short a period for such an important decision as enrolling in or deciding to change one’s coverage.

As for anyone who might want to purchase coverage off-exchange, we verified on one New York state insurance company website that one could still apply. However, we did not go beyond that one company.

It is possible New York will continue to extend open enrollment beyond March 31st.

We invite New Yorkers and others who might be interested to watch the video. Thanks!