An Affordable Care Act navigator with Georgia Refugee Health and Mental Health, Viviana Cossio, stands beside the information table she has just set up to draw people to inquire to enroll in health care plans under the ACA, also known as Obamacare. The open enrollment period mostly drew to a close on Dec. 15. But in dozens of Georgia counties, people affected by Hurricane Michael have an extension to Feb. 20, 2019 to enroll. (PHOTO by Ariel Hart/AJC)
Photo: PHOTO by Ariel Hart
Photo: PHOTO by Ariel Hart

Dozens of Georgia counties get Obamacare enrollment extension

Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, ended Dec. 15. But not everywhere.

According to the federal agency that runs the ACA, thousands of Georgians are eligible for a new “Special Enrollment Period,” or SEP, that will give them until Feb. 20 to enroll. 

The extension is due to Hurricane Michael, according to the agency, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The day after the AJC wrote that CMS would not confirm what appeared to be an extension, CMS confirmed it. According to the statement Friday from CMS, residents of 69 Georgia counties that were affected by Hurricane Michael are eligible for the extension. The people eligible must have either lived in the county at the time of the hurricane, or live in it while signing up; and they must attest that they were prevented by the hurricane from completing their enrollment.

The extension period is extra long because the areas have still not yet recovered from Michael. An extension also applies to some counties in Florida; they have until Feb. 16.

To enroll and receive the extension, people may call the federal enrollment center, healthcare.gov, at 1-800-318-2596 or TTY at 1-855-889-4325. Navigators, who are trained to help people sign up, may also assist them.

The affected Georgia counties are:

Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Baker, Ben Hill, Berrien, Bleckley, Brooks, Bulloch, Burke, Calhoun, Candler, Chattahoochee, Clay, Coffee, Colquitt, Cook, Crawford, Crisp, Decatur, Dodge, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Echols, Emanuel, Evans, Glascock, Grady, Hancock, Houston, Irwin, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Jones, Laurens, Lee, Macon, Marion, Miller, Mitchell, Montgomery, Peach, Pulaski, Putnam, Quitman, Randolph, Schley, Screven, Seminole, Stewart, Sumter, Tattnall, Telfair, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Toombs, Treutlen, Turner, Twiggs, Washington, Webster, Wheeler, Wilcox, Wilkinson, Worth.

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