October 2, 2017
(Austin) – Central Heatlh is ramping up Affordable Care Act (ACA) enrollment efforts in Central Texas and advising residents not to delay signing up for 2018 health insurance plans.
The open enrollment period for the ACA’s Health Insurance Marketplace begins Nov. 1, and lasts 45 days—half the length of previous years. The deadline to enroll or renew in Marketplace health insurance coverage for next year is Dec. 15. Without a qualifying event such as getting married, having a baby, or losing health coverage through a change in job status, this is the only time consumers can enroll in a 2018 health plan.
“Central Health wants to make sure Travis County residents are aware of all the local resources in place to help them enroll in health insurance,” said Mike Geeslin, president and CEO of Central Health. “When people have health insurance, they have a better chance to live happier, more productive lives, and that benefits our entire community.”
In addition to the shortened enrollment period, the Department of Health and Human Services announced it would shut down Healthcare.gov, the website used to sign up for ACA insurance, for 12 hours of maintenance nearly every Sunday during the upcoming enrollment season.
“We’re here with our partners to help consumers navigate the complex world of health insurance coverage,” said Michelle Tijerina, Central Health Director of Community Outreach. “We can assist people with information on changing rates, new health plans, available financial assistance and more. But time is limited, so we’re urging residents to act fast so they don’t miss this opportunity.”
Central Health’s Board of Managers dedicated $615,000 for education and enrollment efforts in 2017. This funding supports bilingual enrollment specialists who meet in-person with consumers to help them understand their health insurance options. The money is also funding a public education initiative using radio, websites, and social media to help spread the word.
Together with EnrollATX, a coalition of Certified Application Counselor organizations and Federal Navigator groups, and the United Way 2-1-1 Center, Central Health is providing expanded navigation services and a community-wide scheduling system. Residents can call 2-1-1 and schedule an appointment at enrollment assistance facilities across Central Texas.
To learn more about local resources and get help obtaining health coverage, call 2-1-1, press Option #1, and ask for EnrollATX well before December 15, 2017.