By Kevin Counihan, CEO of the Health Insurance Marketplaces
Open Enrollment to sign up for affordable, quality health coverage at HealthCare.gov begins in 4 days. Signing up for health insurance is an important decision and we want you to feel confident that you’ve picked the right plan for 2016.
The good news is, if you have questions about signing up, there are a number of ways to find free, personal help.
- 24 Hour Call Center: Representatives at the Call Center are available 24 hours a day, every day (except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day) at 1-800-318-2596. Call Center representatives can answer questions and help you enroll in coverage over the phone.
- Local Help in your Community: Free, confidential, in-person help is also available at enrollment sites and events in communities across the nation. Visit HealthCare.gov to search for local help in your neighborhood.
When you call the call center or visit an enrollment site, our trained enrollment specialists will talk with you for free and help you to review your coverage options, determine if you qualify for financial assistance, and help you sign up or re-enroll in a plan that best meets your needs. Speaking with an enrollment specialist is an excellent way for you to learn about the plans and financial help available at HealthCare.gov and to get answers to your questions. Enrollment specialists are knowledgeable about the range of health plans available on HealthCare.gov as well as other public health insurance programs offered, including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
If you plan to enroll in coverage when you visit an enrollment site or call the Call Center we encouraged you to have the following items on hand:
- Information about your household. Names, mailing addresses, social security numbers or immigration documents for everyone in your household that plans to apply for coverage.
- Employer and income information for every member of your household. This information will be used to help determine if you qualify for financial help. Such documents include recent pay stubs or W-2 forms.
- Information about current insurance. If you have existing coverage, bring along policy numbers for any current health insurance plans covering members of your household.
And remember, free interactive enrollment resources are also always available at HealthCare.gov. When you visit the website you can start shopping for plans available in your area, get an estimate of what financial help may be available, and use a new feature to find out how much your premiums and total out of pocket costs could be.
As you prepare for Open Enrollment 2016, here are 5 quick facts to keep in mind.
1: Sign up by December 15. You must sign up by the December 15 deadline for coverage starting the New Year.
2: Coverage could be more affordable than you think. About 8 out of 10 people who enroll in health coverage through HealthCare.gov qualify for financial help to make their monthly premiums more affordable. Most people can find plans with premiums for less than $75 a month after tax credits.
3: Shop and save. If you had coverage through HealthCare.gov for 2015, you should come back to update your information and compare your options for 2016. You could save money by switching to a new plan. Last year, returning consumers who shopped and switched plans saved nearly $400. Make sure to review your options by visiting HealthCare.gov.
4: Getting covered is easier than ever. Every year HealthCare.gov finds new ways to make signing-up simpler. You can even apply on your smart-phone. During the last open enrollment period, it took most people about 10 minutes to submit an application.
5: Free help is available. If you have questions about signing up or want to talk through your options with a trained professional, free help is just a call or click away. Call 1-800-318-2596 or visit www.HealthCare.gov.