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Open Enrollment For Health Insurance Starts Sunday

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The enrollment period on healthcare.gov runs from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31, 2016.

About 1 million Texans have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act since enrollment efforts began in 2013. That might sound like a lot, but Texas still has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country.

On Sunday, the third round of open enrollment begins on healthcare.gov and community organizations and hospitals are preparing for questions from Texans trying to get health insurance.

Sharon Phillips, executive vice president at Parkland Health & Hospital System, says last year Parkland helped thousands of patients enroll. 

“We have heard it might be harder to enroll as many people this year from prior years, but our experience so far is people are already reaching out to us,” Phillips says. 

Harder, perhaps, because the people most in need have already signed up. That said, this year the financial penalties for not having health insurance will go up – to $695 per adult or 2.5 percent of household income, whichever is greater.

Some people are exempt, depending on income levels or other life events.

To help North Texans navigate the insurance landscape, Parkland has 11 certified application counselors at the old building on Harry Hines. People can also call 214-590-4900 for assistance in Spanish and English. 

The enrollment period runs from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31, 2016.

Lauren Silverman was the Health, Science & Technology reporter/blogger at KERA News. She was also the primary backup host for KERA’s Think and the statewide newsmagazine  Texas Standard. In 2016, Lauren was recognized as Texas Health Journalist of the Year by the Texas Medical Association. She was part of the Peabody Award-winning team that covered Ebola for NPR in 2014. She also hosted "Surviving Ebola," a special that won Best Long Documentary honors from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). And she's won a number of regional awards, including an honorable mention for Edward R. Murrow award (for her project “The Broken Hip”), as well as the Texas Veterans Commission’s Excellence in Media Awards in the radio category.