November 3, 2015

Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment officially kicks off locally and nationally

The Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment period for 2016 opened November 1, and local and federal officials teamed up to make sure Ohioans know about enrollment opportunities in their communities. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) expects 10 million individuals to be enrolled in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace and paying their premiums at the close of 2016. Open enrollment for 2016 coverage runs from November 1, 2015, to January 31, 2016.

“We are working hard to make it easier to get covered—in fact, you can even do so on your cell phone—but it takes the hard work of leaders and partners in the community to get the word out,” said HHS Region 5 Director Kathleen Falk at a kickoff event October 29 at the Mt. Zion Congregational Church in Cleveland. Falk was joined at the event by Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish, Cleveland Public Health Director Toinette Parrilla, mayors from Middleburg Heights, Shaker Heights, Brooklyn Heights and Euclid, as well as local coalition members, including Cuyahoga Health Access Partnership (CHAP) Executive Director Sarah Hackenbracht.

“The Health Insurance Marketplace enrollment period is only three months. It is critically important that our citizens are aware that they can sign up now,” said Budish. “We do not want anyone to realize on February 1st that they have missed this opportunity.”

“In our outreach efforts over the past couple of years, we’ve seen firsthand the real impact the Affordable Care Act has had in the lives of Ohioans,” said Hackenbracht. “While the remaining uninsured will be harder to reach, we know that nearly 75 percent believe having health insurance is important, and we are ready to help them enroll.”

“There are many ways to enroll,” said Parrilla. “A consumer may shop on his or her own at or through the national call center. Or a consumer can call 2-1-1 and be connected to a trained professional for free and confidential assistance.”

Since the Affordable Care Act’s coverage provisions took effect, an estimated 17.6 million Americans have gained coverage.

“What a tremendous difference this makes in their lives,” said Falk. “But we know there are many more still without—and we are seeing that a lot are the working poor. Of the remaining uninsured, about half have less than $100 in savings.”

Almost 40 percent of the uninsured who qualify for Health Insurance Marketplace plans are living between 139 and 250 percent of the poverty level, which is about $30,000 to $60,000 for a family of four, and more than 70 percent are employed.

“The good news is that nearly eight in 10 of those who qualify for the Health Insurance Marketplace are eligible for financial help,” said Falk. “Because nearly three in five uninsured do not know that tax credits are available, we are especially grateful to all the community partners working to reach the uninsured.”

According to HHS analysis, the uninsured are younger. Almost half of those who qualify for plans are between the ages of 18 and 34, which means they might not think they need insurance. Last year, more than 28,000 people in Cuyahoga County selected or were automatically re-enrolled in quality, affordable health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. For coverage to start January 1, individuals must enroll by December 15.

For more information on the Health Insurance Marketplace, please visit Learn more about health insurance options in Cleveland through A Guide to Health Insurance (by clicking on the link below) from the Healthy Cleveland Initiative, which is collaborative effort to help Clevelanders become more healthy and fit. The collaborative initiative includes the Sisters of Charity Health System and the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland.

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

HealthInsuranceGuide - 2.pdf (1.70 mb)

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