WASHINGTON, D.C., April 1, 2020 – 28 patient and consumer groups representing millions of people nationwide with pre-existing health conditions issued the following statement regarding the administration’s decision not to initiate a special enrollment period so that individuals without health insurance can obtain coverage on healthcare.gov:

“Our organizations, representing tens of millions of Americans with disabilities and serious and chronic health conditions, are deeply troubled to learn that the administration opted not to issue a special enrollment period for the healthcare.gov marketplace in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. We urge the administration to reconsider this decision and immediately initiate a 60-day special enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act as the nation fights to protect its citizens from this virus.

“As research shows again and again, access to comprehensive health insurance means access to timely, medically-necessary health care. If someone without health insurance today contracts the COVID-19 virus, they may be forced to make the difficult decision to not be tested and treated due to fears about the cost of care. That puts our entire society – particularly the people with that we represent – at risk. All Americans need immediate, reliable access to quality, affordable health insurance.  

“Eleven states and the District of Columbia have already created special enrollment periods to accommodate an urgent increased need for coverage. The federal government, which oversees the individual exchange for 38 other states, has not. Which state you live in should not determine your access to health care, especially at this time of national crisis.

“We urge the administration to create a special enrollment period for the healthcare.gov marketplace without delay. If they choose not to, Congress should enact legislation directing this action. The health of our nation is at risk.”

Signing organizations:

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

American Diabetes Association

American Heart Association

American Kidney Fund

American Lung Association

Arthritis Foundation

Cancer Support Community

Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Epilepsy Foundation

Hemophilia Federation of America

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

March of Dimes

Mended Hearts & Mended Little Hearts

Muscular Dystrophy Association

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship

National Health Council

National Hemophilia Foundation

National Multiple Sclerosis Society

National Organization for Rare Disorders

National Patient Advocate Foundation

National Psoriasis Foundation

Pulmonary Hypertension Association

Susan G. Komen

The AIDS Institute

United Way Worldwide

WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease

Additional Resources:


For Media Inquiries:
Steve Weiss, American Heart Association, 202-607-0911, Steve.Weiss@heart.org 

For Public Inquiries:

1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and stroke.org