Early childhood education workers provide safe, comfortable and healthy environments for children to learn, and it is important for early childhood educators to be healthy so they can take good care of themselves, and the children who are counting on them. This includes ensuring access to health care and health insurance.
What is Open Enrollment for Health Insurance?
You may have heard that Marketplace enrollment (HealthCare.gov) is open. People who lack health insurance or are already in a Marketplace plan can go to HealthCare.gov to submit or update their application. In addition, applicants may even qualify for financial help paying their health insurance premiums. The Inflation Reduction Act included additional financial help to purchase health coverage so many people who have a health plan through HealthCare.gov will continue to save money on their premiums. Four out of five customers will be able to find plans for $10 or less per month after newly expanded financial assistance. In addition, some states have started programs for low- or no-cost coverage for child care providers.
People who need health insurance can go to HealthCare.gov and look for health insurance to find comprehensive plans that offer coverage for doctor visits, preventive care and prescription drugs, and more. The current open enrollment period closes on January 15, which means individuals will not be able to use the Marketplace to obtain coverage unless they have a qualifying life event, such as losing coverage, having a baby, moving, etc.
Other Insurance Options
While the Marketplace open enrollment period generally opens in November of each year and closes in January, individuals who qualify can enroll in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) at any time during the year. Each state has different income eligibility for these programs, but many child care providers may qualify for these programs. In addition, for those who already are enrolled in these programs, there will be changes in continuing applications once the COVID-19 public health emergency ends. Information about enrollment or continuing coverage in either of these programs can be found here.
How CCR&Rs Can Support Child Care Programs and Families
CCR&Rs can work with child care programs and families to ensure they have the information they need to enroll in health insurance. Early Childhood Educators Week of Action is January 8-14, and there are resources available to help share information about Marketplace Open Enrollment, including a Week of Action Toolkit.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Early Childhood Educators Week of Action Tool Kit
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Renew Your Medicaid or CHIP Coverage
Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care, Health Insurance Programs