Alaskans see extended health insurance enrollment period following November quake

Alaskans living in Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough or on the Kenai Peninsula during last month’s magnitude 7 earthquake now have access to a special enrollment period for health insurance through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Regular open enrollment closed December 15, but when FEMA issued an emergency declaration in response to the Nov. 30 quake, it triggered something called an exceptional circumstances special enrollment period — and extra 60-day window to apply for health insurance via the federal exchange. Eligible Alaskans include Southcentral residents who can attest that they were unable to complete their enrollment because of the earthquake, according to Jane Straight, Lead Navigator with the United Way of Anchorage.

The deadline for the special enrollment period is January 29.

While the law faces a new legal challenge after a federal judge in Texas ruled it unconstitutional last week, the ruling does not affect the coming enrollment period or 2019 coverage, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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Kirsten Swann is a producer and reporter for Alaska Public Media.

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