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News Release: are you covered? Open Enrollment Period Begins for 2016 Health Insurance Coverage

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Beginning Sunday, November 1, hundreds of thousands of Ohioans will again be eligible to sign up for affordable health care coverage for themselves and their families. This Sunday marks the first day of the open enrollment period for private health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. It is an important date for Ohioans to get health insurance coverage for the first time or to continue their health insurance coverage for 2016.

“This year brings some changes that we want to make sure Ohioans know about,” says Zach Reat, director of work support initiatives for the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. “For those considering their options or signing up for the first time, it’s very important that they review the policies and take a fresh look to see if their health insurance coverage meets their needs and budgets.”

Whether Ohioans are signing up for health insurance for the first time, renewing their current plan or enrolling in Medicaid, here is some important information they should know:

Key Dates

Ohioans looking to enroll in health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace should know the following important dates:

  • November 1, 2015: Open enrollment begins.
  • December 15, 2015: The final day to sign up for health insurance in order to get coverage starting January 1, 2016.
  • January 31, 2016: Open enrollment ends. Those who sign-up by this date will get coverage starting March 1, 2016.

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.

Free Help is Available

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.

The are you covered? website, areyoucoveredohio.org, provides comprehensive information about the enrollment process, as well as links to schedule a meeting with a navigator or assister through the Get Covered Connector. Trained navigators and assisters can provide information, walk consumers through the enrollment process step-by-step and identify health insurance discounts they can receive. These free counseling sessions take place in person or over the phone.

For those renewing the policies they purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace last year, free assistance remains available and meetings with trained assisters are encouraged.

Penalty for Not Having Coverage is Higher

The fee for not having coverage in 2016 has risen from last year. For Ohioans who do not have health coverage next year, they’ll pay either 2.5 percent of their yearly household income or $695 per person for the year ($347.50 per child under 18), whichever is higher of the two amounts.

For more information, visit areyoucoveredohio.org.