DALLAS, December 9, 2020 — With just days left until the Dec. 15th deadline to enroll in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization dedicated to building longer, healthier lives, is urging people who are uninsured or need to renew their current ACA plan to review their options at HealthCare.gov.

The annual enrollment window for health insurance through the ACA’s Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov occurs this year during an historic pandemic that has left an estimated 10 million or more people without health insurance coverage nationwide.

“The pandemic makes it even more important than usual to have quality coverage you can count on to get the care you need and avoid financially debilitating medical bills,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. “People with a history of cardiovascular disease are at elevated risk of severe complications from COVID-19, and patients recovering from the virus have the potential for heart attacks, stroke, blood pressure abnormalities and other issues. We urge uninsured individuals and families nationwide to enroll in a quality, affordable health plan by Dec. 15.”

For someone with cardiovascular disease, being uninsured can prevent them from getting needed care or cause them to delay seeking care during a heart attack or stroke, resulting in a longer hospital stay and a higher risk of death. Being uninsured can also result in severe financial hardship from the costs of care.

HealthCare.gov includes health plans offering comprehensive coverage of preexisting conditions, essential health benefits and preventive services without annual or lifetime limits. Consumers may qualify for financial assistance to pay their premiums and other costs, or they may be eligible for coverage at no cost through Medicaid.

Millions of people have benefitted from these plans, including Andrew Blackshear of Benicia, California. At age 27, Andrew contracted a rare fungal infection that caused a serious heart condition requiring two open-heart surgeries. While fighting for his life, he had to fight to get his medical care covered through his short-term health plan.

Since enrolling in an ACA plan, Andrew’s care has been covered, enabling him to focus on staying healthy. His experience compelled him to advocate for improved access to care through the American Heart Association’s You’re the Cure grassroots network.

Plans sold during open enrollment begin offering coverage Jan. 1, 2021. People who have become uninsured because of a job loss, a death in the family or another qualifying life event may be eligible to enroll in an ACA plan outside the standard open enrollment period.

The American Heart Association believes everyone deserves adequate, accessible, and affordable health care. The Association published a presidential advisory earlier this year calling for eliminating inequities in the health care system, promoting diversity within the public health and health care workforce, and improving the health care system's ability to address social determinants of health.

The Association is leveraging social media to encourage uninsured people to enroll in coverage before Dec. 15. The Association also is participating in Get Covered 2021, a national effort to raise awareness about the importance of enrolling in quality health insurance.



About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health, and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1. 

For Media Inquiries: 214-706-1173 

Staff contact: Cianna.levi@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721) 

heart.org and stroke.org