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Open enrollment for getting health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace (Affordable Care Act) begins today and ends December 15. This year’s process will be a little different: It is a shortened enrollment window compared to prior years — half as long — so it is important that those wanting to enroll or renew their coverage start the process as soon as possible.

The main requirement of the Affordable Care Act is that most Americans have some form of health coverage during the year or pay a tax penalty. The vast majority of people already have coverage through a job, Medicare or Medicaid and are in compliance with the law.

During the 6-week enrollment period:
· People needing new insurance will need to enroll in an insurance plan to have insurance starting on January 1, 2018.
· People currently enrolled in a Marketplace Plan, will need to re-enroll in a health plan so there is not a break in coverage.

After December 15, you can enroll only if you’ve had certain life events including losing health care coverage, moving, getting married, having a baby, or adopting a child. There is no enrollment period for BadgerCare Plus; you can apply anytime and enroll if you are eligible.

To get started, visit HealthCare.gov/get-coverage/ and select your state. You will be able to see the 2018 plans, and compare benefits and prices. Most people qualify for financial help to lower their monthly premium payments. If you had a Health Insurance Marketplace plan in 2017, you will need to compare 2018 health plans and prices to your current coverage, update your application, and make sure you are enrolling in the best plan for yourself and your family.

If you need help, it is available.
· Navigators provide free in-person help to enroll in Health Insurance Marketplace insurance as well as BadgerCare and Medicaid. They also provide education on how to use your health coverage. Navigator help is available by appointment at many locations in Dane County. For an appointment, go to Covering Wisconsin’s website or call (608) 261-1455. Covering Wisconsin is also hosting walk-in enrollment events every Saturday during open enrollment, no appointment needed.
· For a list of other locations and events, call 2-1-1 or go to Covering Wisconsin | Get Local Help with Health Insurance and Using Care.
· United Way of Dane County Health Connect is a local program that helps low income Dane County residents pay for certain Marketplace plans. Call 2-1-1 for details.
· Call the Marketplace Call Center toll-free at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325. Help is available in multiple languages.

Written by Madison365 staff

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