The ACA can either be run at the federal level on Healthcare.gov or states can elect to run their own platforms such as Covered California and Mass Health Connector. These are known as state based marketplaces (SBMs). SBMs have tremendous flexibility in that the state takes on the responsibility for the overwhelming majority of the day to day administration of the ACA and they gain an incredible amount of flexibility including the ability to offer Special Enrollment Periods (SEP) at their discretion. California and Maryland had pre-COVID19 SEPs going due to new state regulations offering either enhanced subsidies or a state based individual mandate.
SBMs have been in front of the curve on getting SEPs for COVID19. Charles Gaba has been tracking this aggressively:
CA, CO, CT, DC, MD, MA, NV, NY, RI & WA residents can still #GetCovered via Special Enrollment Periods!
These SEPs are in addition to “lose your job/health insurance SEPs” that are available to everyone.
If you are currently uninsured, there is likely very low cost plans available to you. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that a quarter of the currently uninsured qualify for a zero or $1 premium bronze plan. A fellow insurance nerd has detailed estimates for minimum premium availability in Florida that tracks with most of the nation:
There are 1.12m uninsured Floridians who should be able to get coverage for 0-2% of their income. I don't know why they didn't get coverage during OEP, but a wide-open ASAP SEP would allow them to reconsider that decision given what's happening. pic.twitter.com/fRYVmzVSyA
— Gabriel McGlamery (@jgmcglamery) March 19, 2020
These are high deductible plans. The cheapest plan in most counties will usually have a deductible over $7,000. That is a lot. However, the choice is a zero premium, capped deductible plan with some pre-deductible services including COVID19 testing in a pandemic or a zero premium, infinite deductible plan.
If you are currently uninsured and are in one the SBM states, look for a zero premium plan at the very least during this special enrollment period.