Now Is The Time To Sign Up Or Make Changes In ACA Coverage

Northwest Iowa — A few days ago we highlighted that this is the time of the year that you can make changes to your Medicare Part D coverage — a period called “open enrollment.” Well this is also the time of year that you can make changes to or enroll in Marketplace health insurance — also called an “open enrollment” period.

Jeremy Smith, program director for Iowa Navigator, a non-profit enrollment assistance group, says open enrollment for Marketplace health insurance, available through the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (also known as ObamaCare), is now through December 15, 2020. This year is expected to be a busy year for enrollment he says, as record numbers of unemployed seek health insurance. Over the past year, thousands of people have lost their jobs and their employer-based healthcare. Although those who lose their job are eligible for a special enrollment period, according to Smith, many may not have been aware of this and will be signing up during open enrollment. Health insurance navigators say residents should call early this year to get an appointment to learn about their options.

Smith says getting help signing up is important, as many people are overwhelmed by the options and may choose the wrong type of plan for their family. He says that time of year, people are bombarded with ads for health insurance. Some are legitimate, but some are not. He tells us Iowa Navigator is grant-funded, so they have no profit motive, and their only goal is to help people find the best, most affordable plan for them. Smith tells us many people are concerned as they see partisan fights over the ACA, and worry that they will lose coverage. He said, “No matter who is elected or who is on the supreme court, those who sign up this year during open enrollment will be able to keep their plan for 2021, no matter what pre-existing conditions they have.”

Smith tells us that financial help is also available when signing up for health insurance through the Marketplace. He says last year, 8 in 10 applicants qualified for financial help in obtaining health care coverage. For those that are already enrolled in Marketplace health insurance, new plans and prices are available. Those with current Marketplace coverage should pick a new plan or re-enroll in their existing plan by December 15, 2020, to prevent a lapse in coverage.

Anyone in Iowa can call (515) 978-9570 to reserve a telephone appointment. Consultations are available over the telephone or through a telehealth option which will allow callers to see their application completed in real-time. There is no charge for enrollment assistance. The agency is a free program for Iowa residents and receives federal funding to assist consumers with enrolling in Medicaid or in private health insurance through provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). More information is available at



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