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News Release: December 15 Marks Deadline to Change Health Insurance Coverage for Next Year

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Tuesday, December 15, marks a major deadline during the open enrollment period for those looking to change their Marketplace plan for 2016. Ohioans who do not act by December 15 will continue coverage under their current plans. Ohioans who change their plans or sign up for the first time in the Health Insurance Marketplace by December 15 will have coverage starting January 1, 2016.

“With 17 insurance carriers in Ohio offering health plans for 2016 in the Marketplace, we want Ohioans to get coverage that fits their budgets and needs,” says Zach Reat, director of Work Support Initiatives for the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. “We’re encouraging people to know their options and for the limited time that is remaining, shop around to buy the best health insurance plan for the coming year. We know that signing up for health insurance can be overwhelming, but our assisters are there to provide free support.”

Through the statewide effort are you covered?, a network of 250 organizations throughout Ohio are working to help the uninsured and underinsured get access to affordable health insurance. Trained navigators and assisters can provide information, walk consumers through the enrollment process step by step and identify health insurance discounts that consumers can receive. These free counseling sessions take place in person or over the phone.

The are you covered? website, areyoucoveredohio.org, provides comprehensive information about the enrollment process. The website also links to the Get Covered Connector, a scheduling tool that is available to Ohioans to directly schedule appointments for in-person assistance, search for enrollment events by zip code, receive notifications of their appointments and find contact information for counselors in their local area. Ohioans can also call 1-800-648-1176 to make an appointment.

Upcoming Deadlines

The following are key upcoming deadlines for Ohioans looking to enroll in Marketplace plans:

December 15, 2015: Deadline for consumers who are currently covered by a Health Insurance Marketplace plan to change their plan and get coverage starting January 1, 2016. This is also the deadline for consumers enrolling in a Marketplace plan for the first time to sign up for coverage starting January 1, 2016.

January 15, 2016: Deadline for consumers to enroll in or change their plans in order to get coverage starting February 1, 2016.

January 31, 2016: End of open enrollment. Consumers who enroll between January 16 and January 31 receive coverage beginning March 1, 2016.

Year-round enrollment is available for Medicaid coverage or in Marketplace plans for those who experience a qualifying life event like job loss, change in household composition, etc. Ohioans with annual incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level ($16,243 for an individual) can apply for coverage through expanded Medicaid at any time during the year.

For more information, visit areyoucoveredohio.org.