For more than a decade, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been a critical health insurance lifeline for millions of Americans, especially people ages 50 to 64 who often face high medical bills but struggle to afford coverage.
AARP has been a strong proponent of the law since its creation in 2010. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed another challenge to the ACA, offering peace of mind to those who rely on the protections it provides, including a basic set of essential health care benefits and coverage for preexisting conditions.
COVID-19 has increased reliance on the ACA Health Insurance Marketplace. Many older adults lost their jobs — and their health insurance — because of the toll the pandemic took on our economy or because they needed to step into roles as family caregivers.
The normal ACA open enrollment period is Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, but 2020 and now 2021 have been anything but normal. Recognizing that so many people have found themselves without health insurance because of the pandemic, the Biden administration created a special enrollment period that gives most Americans until Aug. 15 to sign up. (Some states that operate their own programs have different enrollment deadlines.)
If you need ACA Marketplace coverage, use our enrollment checklist to get started. It walks you through understanding costs, plan options, subsidies and how to sign up. You’ll also find detailed guides to state-run programs.