Special to Iredell Free News

RALEIGH — North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey is urging North Carolinians who don’t have health insurance to sign up for coverage during the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for the Health Insurance Marketplace, which began Monday and runs through May 15.

“I am pleased about this opportunity to help families who don’t have insurance due to the loss of a job or the economic situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic,” Causey said. “Making sure you and your family’s medical needs are covered is always important, and the coronavirus pandemic underscores that critical importance.”

Earlier this year President Joe Biden signed an executive order establishing the SEP, citing “exceptional circumstances caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”

Consumers who are uninsured will be able to sign up for coverage without having to wait until the regular open enrollment period at the end of the year. No qualifying event is necessary to be eligible.

Consumers can take this opportunity to look for coverage and find out if they qualify for financial assistance to help pay their insurance premiums. Currently, nine out of 10 consumers enrolled in coverage through HealthCare.gov receive some sort of financial help, with 75 percent of consumers purchasing a plan for $50 or less per month after receiving assistance.

All of the plans at HealthCare.gov cover certain essential health benefits, such as primary care visits and many preventative care services.

Consumers who want to take advantage of the special enrollment period may visit HealthCare.gov or CuidadoDeSalud.gov to view plans and prices and enroll in plans. Consumers may also call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325.

In addition, consumers with any type of insurance question, may call the Department of Insurance’s Consumer Services Division to speak to an expert at 855-408-1212.

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