Last year, more than 1.3 million Texas signed up for individual plans through the state's federally facilitated marketplace, according to the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
Several Austin-area organizations offer resources to help navigate the process.
If you plan to enroll this year, here are some things you need to know.
- Nov. 1: Open enrollment begins. This is the first day to enroll, re-enroll or make changes to 2017 insurance plans.
- Dec. 15: Last day to enroll or change coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2017.
- Jan. 31, 2017: Last day to enroll or make changes a 2017 health plan. After this day, a person can enroll or make coverage changes only if qualified for a special enrollment period.
How to enroll
- Online: Visit www.healthcare.gov.
- By Phone: Call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-4325.
- In Person: There are a number of locations with staff and resources to assist the process, including:
- Central Health Southeast Health & Wellness Center, 2901 Montopolis Drive, Austin.; call the United Way 2-1-1 Call Center and press option 1 to schedule appointments with Central Health and CommUnityCare staff; Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-noon; www.getenrolledatx.com; CommUnityCare also offers assistance at other locations.
- Latino Healthcare Forum, 6601 Felix Ave., Austin; 512-386-7777; Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; www.lhcf.org
- Foundation Communities, North location: 512-496-3786, 5900 Airport Blvd., Austin; South location: 2600 W. Stassney Lane, Austin, 512-610-7386; visit website for hours; www.insurecentraltx.org.
- People's Community Clinic, 1101 Camino La Costa, Austin; 512-478-4939; Mon.-Tue. 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Wed. 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Thu. 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri. 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; www.austinpcc.org.
- All other locations with in-person enrollment resources can be found here.
- By mail: You can fill out and mail in a paper application. You will receive eligibility results via mail within two weeks. The paper application will be available for 2017 on Nov. 1.
Other things to remember
- What you pay for insurance depends on your income. You can enter in your expected income online for your year of coverage and find out if you qualify for a tax credit that will lower your monthly insurance bill.
- Plans cover essential health benefits including hospitalization, emergency services and prescription drugs; pre-existing conditions; and preventative care.
- In 2016, if you don’t have insurance, you will have to pay a penalty of either 2.5 percent of your income or $695 per adult (whichever is higher). The fee for 2017 will be adjusted for inflation.
- You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period due to a major life event including losing health coverage, getting married or having a baby.