How to: enroll on the healthcare exchange in Texas

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In Texas’ fourth year with a market exchange, 4.3 million people are still without insurance. Here is what you need to know to enroll on the marketplace.

Important Dates

  • Nov. 1: Open enrollment begins.
    Tomball Regional Medical Center

    Tomball Regional Medical Center is one of the locations individuals can visit for help enrolling on the marketplace in Texas. (via )

  • Dec. 1: This is the last day you can enroll for coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2017.
  • Jan. 31, 2017: This is the last day to enroll or change a 2017 health plan. After this day, enrollment or change in plans is only permitted if a person qualifies for a Special Enrollment Period.

How to Enroll

You can apply for coverage in four different ways:

  • Online: Go to healthcare.gov and enroll by Jan. 31, 2017.
  • Phone: Call the Marketplace Call Center at any hour of the day at 1-800-318-4325.
  • In Person: There are a number of community resources that will walk you through the process, including:
    • Tomball Regional Medical Center. 281-401-7242. essconnection.com. 605 Holderrieth Boulevard, Tomball.
    • Resource Corporation of America. 855-307-6386. www.resource-corp.com. 17200 St. Luke’s Way, The Woodlands.
    • Lone Star Community Health Center. 936-539-4004. www.lonestarfamily.org. 605 Conroe Medical Drive, Conroe.
    • Montgomery County Hospital District. 936-523-5000. www.mchd-tx.org. 1400 South Loop 336 W., Conroe.
    • You can find all the other locations to enroll in person 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.

Important Things to Know before Enrolling

  1. 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.
  2. All plans cover essential health benefits including hospitalization, emergency services and prescription drugs; pre-existing conditions; and preventative care.
  3. 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.
  4. You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period due to a major life event including losing health coverage, getting married or having a baby.
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Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson is a recent transplant to the Austin area from Houston, Texas, where she started with Community Impact Newspaper in May 2016. Donaldson started covering public education in Cy-Fair ISD, the third largest school district in the state of Texas, and then she transitioned into her role as the company's legislative reporter, providing statehouse coverage for all 22 editions. Currently, she reports on the city of Round Rock and Round Rock ISD for the Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto edition. Donaldson graduated from the University of Missouri with bachelor's degrees in magazine journalism and political science.

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