AUSTIN, Texas - Open enrollment for next year's health insurance coverage is going on now. It began this month, and is open until mid-January.
Experts gave some advice on how to secure a health insurance plan ahead of the deadline.
"For Travis County, this year, we have got 10 providers who are offering more than 132 plans. There are a lot of options for people this year, and the options this year are very similar to last year," says Director of Prosper Programs Kori Hattemer.
Kori Hattemer works at Foundation Communities, a local nonprofit organization based in Austin.
Prosper Programs is a branch of the organization that helps guide those in need of insurance coverage through the process.
"We talk with them to understand their health care needs, what doctors they want to see, what prescriptions they have, and then look at their budget to see what they can afford to pay in premiums, deductibles, and co-payments," said Hattemer.
According to Healthcare.gov, this year, open enrollment started Nov. 1 and ends Jan. 16. Enrolling by Dec. 15 will allow your health insurance to start at the beginning of next year.
"Last year, we saw a record 2.4 million Texans enroll in a plan through healthcare.gov," said Every Texan Health Policy Analyst Karla Martinez.
"If you don't get health insurance through your job or another way, and you need health insurance for 2024, this is your chance to sign up. People who work for themselves, musicians, independent contractors, folks who work for smaller businesses, maybe you work for a daycare center, or a restaurant and your employer doesn't offer health insurance, the marketplace is a really good option," said Hattemer.
Hattemer says marketplace insurance from Healthcare.gov offers plans that are suitable for those who are not receiving coverage through their jobs, and it provides financial assistance.
"Depending on your income, some clients pay zero dollars a month in premiums because they qualify for enough premium tax credits to offset the full cost," said Hattemer.
"People that don't have an option of getting health insurance through their job, or it is not affordable through their job, if they are within a certain income range, they can get some help on a sliding scale based on what their income is to be able to afford their monthly premiums," said Martinez.
According to the Prosper Programs Director, if you miss the open enrollment deadline, a qualifying life event may allow you to enroll in a marketplace plan.
"If you lose your job, if you move, have a baby, get married, get divorced, there are a lot of life events like that, that automatically qualify to enroll in health insurance. You have a short window for that, so don't wait for some big changes," said Hattemer.