This is a guest blog post by Kori Hattemer, director of prosper programs for Foundation Communities. Foundation Communities is a local nonprofit in the Health Ecosystem that provides affordable housing and support services.
The end of the enrollment season for 2020 Marketplace health plans is rapidly approaching, and this week is the best time to beat the rush and sign up for coverage before the Dec. 15 deadline.
The free health insurance enrollment program at Foundation Communities’ Prosper Centers has helped more than 30,000 Central Texans sign up for health insurance through the HealthCare.gov Marketplace since 2013. More than 90% of people who enroll with Foundation Communities receive generous financial help to pay for monthly insurance premiums and other health care costs. Many Central Texans can qualify for $0 per month premiums, depending on their annual income.
The health insurance enrollment program is part of Foundation Communities’ larger set of programs designed to help Central Texans develop and maintain financial stability, which affects their health and the health of their communities.
Foundation Communities embraces the idea of coverage-to-care — assisting people in both finding and using their health insurance — and works to help more than 5,000 community members each year identify affordable health insurance that covers the care they need. Access to affordable health coverage can have a significant influence on health outcomes only if people can also access the care they need to manage health conditions, treat emergencies if they occur and keep up with their medications and annual exams.
Shopping for health insurance can be confusing, but our team of enrollment experts has researched all the plans on the Marketplace. They work with each client to enroll in a plan that meets their health care needs and budget. Since open enrollment began on Nov. 1, we have helped more than 2,700 people complete their Marketplace application and enroll in health insurance.
In a unique partnership with the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, we have helped more than 1,000 local musicians enroll in affordable health insurance and access other health benefits available through HAAM. Marketplace insurance plans make it possible for musicians and other self-employed, part-time, contract workers and anyone else who doesn’t have employer-based coverage find affordable health insurance plans.
Daniel Harvey, a HAAM member, and his wife are Marketplace clients who enrolled in health insurance with Foundation Communities’ assistance. At one point, they lost their financial assistance to pay their premiums because of a verification issue. Some folks might give up trying to reinstate their discount because the process can be confusing, but because they are regular Foundation Communities clients, they knew they could turn to the health insurance enrollment team to help navigate the problem. As a result, they continue to be among the 90% of Foundation Communities clients who receive generous financial help to pay their health insurance premiums. Getting health insurance was their first step to getting quality health care with a local provider in their health plan.
The Dec. 15 deadline to enroll is firm. If people miss it, they won’t be able to sign up for 2020 health insurance unless they have a qualifying event, such as changing jobs, getting married, having a baby or some other circumstances. The last few days of enrollment are always very busy, and the enrollment website tends to be glitchy. Skip the stress and take the opportunity to get in and sign up this week.
No appointment is required to sign up for health insurance with one of our enrollment experts. Both of our Prosper Centers (located at 5900 Airport Blvd. and 2600 W. Stassney Ln. in Austin) are open six days a week.
For more information on health insurance enrollment and the hours for each site, visit insurecentraltexas.org or call 211.