October 31, 2018
If you need health insurance in 2019, get ready to enroll. Central Health and its partners are committed to helping Travis County residents enroll in a Qualified Health Plan offered through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Health Insurance Marketplace.
The 2019 Open Enrollment Period for the Health Insurance Marketplace begins Thursday, Nov. 1 and runs through Saturday, Dec. 15 – a window of only 45 days. Central Health encourages all Travis County residents in need of health coverage to call 2-1-1 and schedule an appointment for free, in person assistance with an enrollment specialists to review all of their health plan options. There are new health plans available for 2019 and rates have changed.
“We realize health insurance can be complicated, but Central Health and our partners can make it easier,” Central Health President and CEO Mike Geeslin said. “Not only have rates and plans changed, peoples’ circumstances may have changed. That’s why we strongly recommend everyone talk to an enrollment specialist to review their options – even if they plan to renew their existing health plan.”
Every health plan offered on the Marketplace must cover the same set of 10 essential health benefits, ranging from outpatient care to hospitalization to prescription drugs. Sendero Health Plans, Central Health’s nonprofit Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), is again offering their IdealCare product, in this year’s Marketplace for 2019.
Like previous years, Central Health, Central Health-supported CommUnityCare Health Centers, Foundation Communities, and United Way 2-1-1 are partnering together, along with other local organizations, to provide free enrollment assistance to anyone seeking health coverage through the Marketplace.
“The first step is to call 2-1-1, choose Option #1, and schedule an appointment. We have bilingual enrollment specialists available 7 days a week, daytime, evening and weekends. But, time is limited. You must enroll by December 15th,” Central Health Director of Health Insurance Enrollment & Training, Michelle Tijerina said. “Without a qualifying event such as losing employer health coverage, getting married, or having a baby, this is the only time during the year that individuals can enroll or make changes to their health plan.”
Since the Health Insurance Marketplace opened in October 2013, Central Health has invested about $3 million in education and awareness efforts for Travis County residents, and to help them enroll in health coverage. The investment has paid off. According to the Community Advancement Network (CAN), Travis County residents under the age of 65 with no health insurance has fallen every year since 2011.
“Our mission at Central Health is to make sure everyone in our community has access to health care,” Central Health Board of Managers Chairperson Dr. Guadalupe Zamora said. “I’ve been a practicing physician in this community for more than three decades and I know giving people the chance to have health insurance is one of the most important things we can do to give them access to a healthier life. Everyone in our community deserves health insurance, and we’re doing everything we can to make that a reality.”
Residents should visit www.Centralhealth.net/enroll-atx to learn more about local resources, and to get help obtaining health coverage and in-person assistance.