Harvey Victims Have Extra Time To Sign-Up For Federal Health Options

Open enrollment is extended to Dec. 31 for those who were impacted by Hurricane Harvey

Harvey victims work with Health and Human Services representatives to apply for the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program at Greenspoint Mall on September 22nd, 2017.

People affected by Harvey still have time to get in on government health plans.

While the national deadlines for coverage under Medicare or the Affordable Care Act have already passed, anyone who lives in the Texas counties with a FEMA disaster declaration has until December 31st to enroll or change federal health plans.

The extension also applies to people who lived in those counties when Harvey struck, even if they've since moved away. For Medicare, the extension goes one step further, covering people who don't live in the affected areas, if they require help making healthcare decisions from family or friends who were impacted by the storm.

Angela Brice-Smith, the regional administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said health agencies realize people are still recovering.

"You know, it's such an incredible journey after your home has been damaged, and all of your things that you've accumulated over a long time have been lost or damaged," she said. "It takes a while."

If you want either of the extensions, you have to request them from Medicare or from the federal health marketplace. Some proof that you qualify might also be required.

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