Affordable Care Act special enrollment period opens Feb. 15

Press release from Pisgah Legal Services: 

People have a new opportunity to enroll in health insurance for 2021 on, but only for a limited time. This new COVID-19 Special Enrollment period starts on February 15, 2021 and ends on May 15, 2021. Pisgah Legal Services (PLS), and its enrollment partners of WNC, are once again offering free assistance helping people in the 18-county mountain region review their options and sign up for ACA health insurance.

With job losses continuing to mount amid the COVID-19 resurgence, and millions of people having lost their job-based health insurance since the start of this public health and economic crisis, the Biden Administration has opened up to give people who need health insurance a new opportunity to get covered, but they must act quickly. For free help locally, with trained assisters, make an appointment at or call (828) 210-3404.

“More than 535,000 North Carolinians enrolled in a health insurance plan during the last Open Enrollment period,” said Shannon Cornelius, Pisgah Legal’s Health Justice Program Director. “This is a new chance for people to sign up, and anyone who needs health insurance should visit today, or contact Pisgah Legal Services if you need assistance. Don’t delay.”

Health insurance is more affordable than many people think. In North Carolina, 83 percent of current marketplace consumers had plans available for 2021 that cost less than $50 per month, after financial help. Nine out of 10 marketplace enrollees in North Carolina received financial help that lowered their monthly health insurance premiums last year. In addition, 57 percent of enrollees also qualified for lower out-of-pocket costs for health care services.

“With this new Special Enrollment Period, both new and existing marketplace consumers can shop for marketplace pans, compare options, costs and even make changes. It opens up the ability to get health insurance outside of Open Enrollment. Our certified application counselors can help answer questions and get you enrolled in the plan that works best for you and your family,” said Cornelius.

Consumers enrolling in a plan on are guaranteed to receive comprehensive coverage, with no pre-existing condition exclusions or markups. All plans cover essential benefits, including doctor and hospital visits, prescription drugs, mental health treatment, and maternity care. In addition, consumers receive free preventive care services, such as immunizations and health screenings. Testing and treatment of COVID-19 are considered essential health benefits and are covered by plans.

Consumers should avoid insurance plans offered outside of that seem too good to be true. “Junk insurance” products and short-term limited duration plans pose huge financial risks to consumers. These products can refuse to pay for care for pre-existing conditions, charge consumers more based on their gender, and impose annual coverage limits. is the only website where North Carolina consumers are guaranteed to get comprehensive coverage,” said Cornelius.

Make a Free Appointment Today
The health insurance landscape can be confusing, but free, local help is available. Appointments can be made online or by calling (828) 210-3404. For the safety of consumers, staff and volunteers, all Pisgah Legal Services appointments are currently being conducted by phone, some community partners may offer in person assistance.
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