The open enrollment period for insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act starts Saturday.
Not a lot has changed since the insurance marketplace’s first open-enrollment period. All health plans must still offer the same essential benefits – prescriptions, maternity care, hospitalization.
In Allen County however there are more than double the available insurance providers offering plans. The sign-up process itself may see the biggest change this time around.
“First of all the federal website is going to work better than it did the last time, and that was a real problem last year with all the glitches in the website. So we’re looking forward to that,” says Mary Halpert, president of Fort Wayne’s Neighborhood Health Clinic.
Halpert says the key thing to know this year is that those who enrolled last year, will need to re-enroll. Say “I want to keep my same plan” or “I want a different one.”
The clinic’s enrollment specialist, Cathy Pollick, has been raising awareness for the open enrollment date.
“I think it’s just we’ve seen it now so we know to expect the unexpected," says Pollick, "and to kind of go with it, and encourage people to just keep at it, and you can make it through, and we’re here to help.”
Anyone can apply for an insurance plan through the marketplace. Those between 100 and 400 percent of the poverty line are eligible for subsidies. Cathy Pollick says people can sign up on their own through the website healthcare.gov, but if they come into the clinic for assistance, they’ll need to bring their I.D., tax forms, and email address.