Special Enrollment Period For Healthcare Coverage Begins February 15

Consumers Can Enroll or Change Coverage For Calendar Year 2021
Thursday, February 11, 2021 | 09:10am

NASHVILLE —The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) reminds consumers that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) on the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) starting February 15, 2021 and continuing through August 15, 2021 so that consumers may apply and enroll for healthcare coverage for the 2021 calendar year.

Starting on February 15, 2021, consumers in marketplaces like Tennessee that use the HealthCare.gov platform may submit a new application or update an existing application. As part of the SEP, consumers may access the SEP through a variety of channels: through HealthCare.gov directly, the Marketplace call center (1-800-318-2596) or direct enrollment channels. Additionally, consumers can work with a network of over 50,000 agents and brokers who are registered with the Marketplace, along with over 8,000 trained assisters ready to assist consumers with their application for coverage.

Tennessee’s health insurance carriers and coverage areas for 2021 are as follows:

  • BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee: Statewide coverage.
  • Bright Health: Coverage in Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville areas.
  • Celtic/Ambetter Insurance: Coverage in Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Jackson, Memphis and Tri-Cities areas as well as select cities in West Middle Tennessee such as Columbia, Dickson and Lawrenceburg.
  • Cigna: Coverage in Chattanooga, Jackson, Knoxville, Nashville, Memphis and Tri-Cities areas.
  • Oscar Health: Coverage in Nashville and Memphis areas.
  • UnitedHealthcare: Coverage in Chattanooga, Jackson, Memphis and Nashville areas as well as select cities in West Middle Tennessee such as Columbia, Dickson and Lawrenceburg.

Some consumers may already be eligible for other existing SEPs, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Those consumers can visit HealthCare.gov to find out if they can enroll even before this new SEP.

Consumers who are eligible and enroll under this SEP will be able to select a plan with coverage that starts prospectively the first of the month after plan selection. Consumers will have 30 days after they submit their application to choose a plan.

Current enrollees will be able to change to any available plan in their area without restriction to the same level of coverage as their current plan. If a consumer changes insurance carriers, the consumer is considered a new enrollee in the new plan and all out-of-pocket limits and deductibles will start over. If the consumer stays with the same carrier but changes metal levels (i.e. gold, silver, bronze or the split of healthcare costs with your carrier), any deductible and out-of-pocket amounts already incurred will be transferred to the new metal level plan.

In order to use this SEP, current enrollees will need to step through their application and make any changes if needed to their current information and submit their application in order to receive an updated eligibility result that provides the SEP before continuing on to enrollment.

This SEP opportunity will not involve any new application questions or require consumers or enrollment partners to provide any new information not otherwise required to determine eligibility and enroll in coverage. In addition, consumers will not need to provide any documentation of a qualifying event (e.g., loss of a job or birth of a child), which is typically required for SEP eligibility. As always, consumers found eligible for Medicaid or CHIP will be transferred to their state Medicaid and CHIP agencies for enrollment in those programs.

Before enrolling in a plan, TDCI reminds consumers to remember the following tips:

  • Carefully review plans when shopping on the exchange during the SEP. Review a policy to ensure it provides the coverage for services you are seeking. While it may be tempting to enroll in a plan with the lowest premium, consumers should take into account other potential costs such as co-pays and deductibles.
  • Ask questions and contact the carriers about their plans. Consumers can learn more details about individual plans, get contact numbers for carriers and view a statewide map of insurance carriers’ coverage areas at TDCI’s website.
  • Research premiums, deductibles, co-pays and cost-sharing along with reviewing each insurance carrier’s networks for their most accessible and/or preferred providers and hospitals. To avoid unexpected or ‘balance bills’, always visit
  • in-network providers.
  • Important Dates:
  • February 15, 2021: First day to enroll, re-enroll or change an insurance plan during the SEP. Visit HealthCare.gov to enroll.
  • August 15, 2021: The SEP ends.

Questions? Contact the TDCI team at 1-800-342-4029 or 615-741-2218.

Note: This page has been updated from its original posting to reflect an extension of the deadline.