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Get Covered, Stay Covered!

Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment Starts November 15

Milwaukee Enrollment Network (MKEN) members are reminding consumers that there are plenty of resources to help consumers get – and renew insurance coverage.

Starting November 15, a much improved healthcare.gov website, and 1,000 more national call center representatives will be available to help new and returning individuals apply for coverage.  In Milwaukee, a variety of community-based organizations, health care providers, the City of Milwaukee Community Health Assistance Program (CHAP) and a number of insurance agents are ready to provide in-person assistance through February 15, when the open enrollment period ends. Again this year, IMPACT 2-1-1 will serve as the local information and referral call center for individuals looking for enrollment assistance in public or private insurance options.

Danielle Coterel, outreach specialist with Covering Kids & Families, southeast Wisconsin’s federal Navigator organization and co-convener of MKEN notes,  “National research shows that nine in ten uninsured are unaware that open enrollment starts on November 15.  Given that 90% of Marketplace enrollees received financial support for their insurance coverage in 2014, it’s important that everyone know that free, in-person assistance is available throughout the community to help them sign up in the Marketplace.”

“We want individuals to know that there are just three simple steps to the enrollment process,” says Heather Dummer Combs, MKEN enrollment project manager. “Whether they are first-time visitors to the Marketplace, or returning to enroll for 2015, there are new plans available and better information to help consumers get covered and stay covered.”

1. When prepared with their current income and insurance information, the first step for consumers is to check to see if they qualify for financial help, such as premium subsidies.

2. The next step in the process is to shop for a plan that includes the providers they want and fits their budget.

3. The final step is to pick a plan, or keep the plan they already have.  Consumers must also pay their first premium for Marketplace coverage effective January 1, 2015.

“Our community was tremendously successful in enrolling Milwaukeeans during the first open enrollment period earlier this year,” says Joy Tapper, executive director of the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership, co convener of MKEN.  “In addition to the 42,000 newly eligible childless adults who enrolled in BadgerCare Plus, 52% of individuals transitioning from BadgerCare secured private insurance through the Marketplace or their employer.  And, nearly 23,000 Milwaukee County residents enrolled in private insurance in the Marketplace.” “ But,” Tapper adds, “there are still about 100,000 low-income, uninsured individuals in the county, most of whom are employed.”

Adults with income below 100% of the federal poverty level ($11,670 per year for an individual) and children and pregnant women in households with income under 300% of the poverty level ($71,550 for a family of 4), may enroll anytime in BadgerCare Plus.  Starting November 15, consumers can learn more about eligibility for enrollment in the Marketplace as well as BadgerCare Plus, by visiting healthcare.gov or calling the Health Insurance Marketplace national call center at 1-800-318-2596  (open 24 hours, 7 days a week).  To get connected to free, in-person enrollment assistance in Milwaukee County, consumers should dial 2-1-1.

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