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November 1, 2015 marks the start of the third year of Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace or “Obamacare.” Open Enrollment allows families to go online to Healthcare.gov and shop for health insurance coverage that meets their needs and budget.
For families who already have coverage through the Marketplace from last year, they have the option to re-enroll in the same insurance plan or to shop for new coverage. Insurance plans can change from year to year so be sure to review your current plan and make sure it still contains the details that are important to you and your family.
According to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly 1 million uninsured Floridians are eligible for financial help paying for insurance if they simply apply for it. Roughly 306,000 people qualify for Medicaid but have not applied for it and 825,000 people are eligible for financial assistance for health insurance through the Marketplace on Healthcare.gov but have not enrolled.
November 1 will be the first opportunity to enroll or re-enroll through Healthcare.gov with coverage starting as early as January 1, 2016. The window to apply for coverage through Healthcare.gov is very short this year. Open Enrollment begins on November 1, 2015 and ends on January 31, 2016. People who do not have insurance coverage after January 31, 2016 may have to pay a penalty.
For families with questions about the Health Insurance Marketplace or who would like assistance enrolling or re-enrolling on Healthcare.gov, there is free help available through the Health Insurance Marketplace Navigator program in North Central Florida. For more information and to contact a Navigator in your area, visit http://ncfnavigators.org/ or call 352-299-0380.
Lauren Vagelakos, Associate Planner at WellFlorida Council, is the manager of the Health Insurance Marketplace Navigator program, which provides free enrollment assistance through Healthcare.gov to 15 counties in North Central Florida.