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Politics & Government

Delaware asks for ACA enrollment extension as open enrollment deadline nears

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Department of Health and Human Services
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State officials are pushing for all Delawareans who need health insurance to sign up for a plan through the ACA exchange this week. The open enrollment period ends Friday.

Numbers from the federal government show that so far more than 8,500 state residents have signed up for Affordable Care Act coverage next year.

Sen. Tom Carper said there is a pending request for the federal government to extend Delaware’s enrollment period.

“So far we have not heard anything to suggest the Trump administration is going to extend the open enrollment period so we’re acting as if it’s going to end at the close of businesses Friday," he said. "And we’re going to do our dead-level best between now and then to get the word out to as many people that they have an opportunity in the next five days to sign up.”

He’s also supporting legislation to stabilize the insurance exchanges - which have seen spikes in premiums this year and loss of some insurers. Aetna left exchanges in all of the states including Delaware.

“There is there’s enough votes to pass this in the Senate if we can actually get it up for a vote," he said. "And the part the hard part is getting it up for a vote. But the votes are there to pass it.”

Delaware Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Kara Odom Walker said more than half of the Delawareans who signed up for a plan last year did it at the last minute.

The enrollment window in previous years ran from Nov. 1 through the end of January. This year, that period is six week shorter and the Trump administration cut most of funding to advertise the open enrollment period.

People who have had a plan previously, but don’t sign up before the end of the week may be automatically enrolled into a plan.

Over 27,500 residents signed up for coverage last year.

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