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Open Enrollment Period for Health Insurance Marketplace Opens Nov. 1

North Carolinians can enroll or re-enroll in quality, affordable health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace when the fourth open-enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act begins on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

During the open-enrollment period, which runs from Nov. 1 to Jan. 31, uninsured North Carolinians will be able to enter the Health Insurance Marketplace and select plans that fit their needs and budgets. People who currently have coverage through the Marketplace should check the website to learn about new options and ensure they are getting the correct amount of financial help for 2016.

For many North Carolinians, affordability is a real concern in their health care decision-making. In the past, high premium costs have forced many to go without health insurance simply because they could not afford it. The good news is that financial assistance is available to help people pay for plans – in fact, 92% of North Carolinians who signed up for Affordable Care Act coverage received financial assistance to make their plan more affordable.

The NC Navigator Consortium and Enroll America are urging North Carolinians to check out Affordable Care Act plans. In the last enrollment period, over 613,000 N.C. residents enrolled in health coverage through the Marketplace, providing them with the peace of mind that comes with protecting themselves and their families. This coming open-enrollment period is the next opportunity North Carolinians have to take advantage of the coverage options available through the Marketplace.

“We encourage North Carolinians to check out their health care coverage options in the upcoming enrollment period,” said Jennifer Simmons, director of the NC Navigator Consortium. “We have in-person assisters in all counties across North Carolina who can sit down face-to-face with consumers for free to answer questions and help them make the best coverage decision for them and their families.”

North Carolinians can find free in-person assisters available in their communities by calling 1-855-733-3711 or using the Get Covered Connector tool at www.gcaconnector.org. In-person assisters in Eastern North Carolina will accommodate scheduling needs of people affected by Hurricane Matthew.

Enroll America’s North Carolina State Director Sorien Schmidt said North Carolinians who are losing coverage because their insurance providers are leaving the Marketplace should take advantage of the available in-person assisters and review plans that are still available to them.

“There are still many health insurance options for North Carolinians through the Marketplace and we encourage those who need to re-enroll to review plans available to them,” said Schmidt. “We will continue working as a team to reach out to the uninsured wherever they are with the information they need to get covered and make they receive the most up-to-date financial package available to them.”   

While the fourth open-enrollment period provides an opportunity for North Carolinians to gain access to quality, affordable health care, it also gives people a chance to avoid paying a fine when they file their taxes. Those who do not enroll in a plan by Jan. 31, 2017, could face a fine of $695 or 2.5% of their yearly income, whichever is greater.

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The NC Navigator Consortium is a group of 13 health care, social service, and legal aid organizations that helps North Carolina consumers enroll in affordable health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. The consortium is led by Legal Aid of North Carolina, a statewide, nonprofit law firm that provides free civil legal aid to low-income North Carolinians. Learn more at www.legalaidnc.org.