Open enrollment set to begin

Special to The Gainesville Sun
By Lauren Vagelakos

On Saturday, open enrollment will begin for the second year of the Health Insurance Marketplace through the Affordable Care Act.

According to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, over 200,000 more Floridians are projected to sign up for health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace this year. As an informed consumer, there are a few important things to remember when it comes to your insurance coverage for you and your family as you prepare for Open Enrollment.

Even if you have a health insurance plan from Healthcare.gov and would like to keep it, it is still a good idea to log in to your Health Insurance Marketplace Account and make sure all of your personal information is accurate and up-to-date.

If you had any changes occur this past year — such as your address or income — this can affect the amount of subsidy or cost-sharing reduction you may be eligible for, as well as what plans are available to you.

Whether or not you currently have health insurance, it is a good idea to log on to Healthcare.gov and shop for coverage. The details of your insurance plan may have changed, so make sure that the plan you currently have still contains all of the elements that are important to you and your family—such as your doctors, covered services, and prescriptions.

If you would like to have a different insurance plan than you had this past year or you currently do not have health insurance, you will be able to enroll in a new plan starting Saturday with coverage beginning as early as Jan. 1.

If you have questions about the marketplace, want to review your coverage options, change your health insurance plan, or apply for coverage for the first time, the Health Insurance Marketplace Navigators are here to help. WellFlorida Council has multiple Navigators available to provide free, unbiased assistance to guide you through the enrollment process.

The Health Insurance Marketplace Navigators can be reached by phone and at different enrollment events in North Central Florida. To contact a Navigator for your area, visit http://ncfnavigators.org/.

There will be an enrollment event on Sunday at the Hippodrome State Theatre, 25 SE 2nd Place in Gainesville, from 1 to 6 p.m. The event is organized by Enroll America, a national nonprofit organization that focuses on maximizing the number of Americans who are enrolled and retain health coverage in the U.S. Navigators will be available at the event to meet with consumers, answer questions and help individuals and families apply for coverage.

To make an appointment, email Dave O’Malley at domalley@enrollamerica.org; walk-ins are welcome.

Lauren Vagelakos, associate planner at WellFlorida Council, is the manager of the Health Insurance Marketplace Navigator program, which provides free enrollment assistance to 15 counties in North Central Florida.

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