Special enrollment period opens insurance exchange at Southwell

The Albany Herald, Ga.
·2 min read

Mar. 13—TIFTON — Due to the COVID-19 special enrollment period between Feb. 15 and May 15, consumers can change their Health Insurance Marketplace exchange plan to Blue Cross Blue Shield/Anthem to ensure in-network coverage for Southwell providers and services.

"We have many Marketplace patients under the impression that their plan was in-network with our services, only to find out that the insurance provider would not cover our non-emergency services," Kim Wills, chief financial officer for Southwell, said. "We are very excited about this special enrollment period because we think it will give many of those marketplace subscribers the opportunity to switch to the Anthem plan to ensure covered access to Southwell's primary care and specialty care services."

Southwell includes Tift Regional Medical Center in Tifton, Southwell Medical in Adel, Southwell Medical Health and Rehabilitation in Adel, and more than 30 primary care and specialty clinics throughout the south-central Georgia region.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a special enrollment period for the Health Insurance Marketplace that will be available to consumers in the 36 states, including Georgia, that use the HealthCare.gov platform. The SEP will open Feb. 15 and continue through May 15. CMS stated that many Americans remain uninsured or underinsured and need access to health care coverage, especially during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Individuals can continue to change their 2021 health plans at any time if they qualify for a special enrollment period due to a life event such as losing coverage, getting married, moving, or having a baby. Generally, 60 days is given from the life event for the individual to enroll in a new plan, but reporting the new change as soon as possible is recommended.

"We encourage people to take advantage of this special enrollment period while they can," Wills said. "No one plans to get sick or hurt, but bad things happen, even to healthy people. Having medical debt can really limit your options. If you're paying for every medical service yourself, you may make some health care decisions based on money instead of what's best for your health."

To make the switch to the Blue Cross Blue Shield/Anthem plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace exchange, visit www.healthcare.gov/apply-and-enroll/change-after-enrolling/ or call 1-800-318-2596 (toll free: 1-855-889-4325) where a representative will be able to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with the exception of holidays.

To learn more about Southwell and its services, visit www.mysouthwell.com.