TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Democratic Florida Congressmen Maxwell Frost and Darren Soto joined with eight other members of U.S. Congress, including Rep. Kathy Castor from Tampa, to request a special enrollment period for Americans who would lose medical coverage when certain pandemic relief programs end.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act is set to end a continuous coverage requirement for Americans, set up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its March 31 end date gives millions of Americans currently covered by Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program just over two months to find other coverage options, or lose their medical benefits.
Frost and Soto sent a letter to President Joe Biden and Xavier Becerra, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, asking for a special enrollment period to allow the “nearly 18 million people” who were currently covered a chance to apply for Medicaid or CHIP benefits. The letter to the federal government said the coverage policy from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act led to a 30% increase in enrollment for Medicaid and CHIP, as well as “record low uninsured rates.”
A day after the letter was sent, a spokesperson for Rep. Frost said the request had been approved, giving more than one million Floridians an opportunity to retain their healthcare coverage.
“Thanks to the quick work from the Biden Administration, our calls for a special enrollment period have been answered,” Frost said in a statement. “Now over one million of our fellow Floridians can breathe a sigh of relief and rest assured they won’t go without the healthcare coverage they deserve.”
The special enrollment period will allow those covered by the provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to apply for Medicaid or CHIP coverage over a 60-day period through the Affordable Care Act insurance marketplace.