News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Open Enrollment For Health Care Begins In Texas — Here's What You Need To Know

shutterstock_361672736.jpg
Krunja
/
Shutterstock

Starting Wednesday, Texans can enroll in health care coverage for 2018 on healthcare.gov through Dec. 15.

This is the fifth year the federal marketplace is open, but it’s turning out to look very different from previous years. For one, the time to enroll is shorter. Also, the Trump administration cut funds for advertising and outreach by 90 percent, so there are fewer resources available for awareness campaigns.

“Taking away the advertising means that people aren’t going to get those reminders,” said Lori Lodes, co-founder of Get America Covered.

Lodes, who ran outreach for enrollment under the Affordable Care Act for the Obama administration, said although there are fewer ads and the sign-up period is shorter, more people in Texas qualify for subsidies.

“In Texas, the tax credits have increased,” Lodes said. “Eight out of 10 people can find a plan for under $75."

“Most people who already have plans through the federal marketplace will be automatically re-enrolled, but Lodes urges customers to return to healthcare.gov since plan pricing and coverage changes every year.

“If they come back and shop, they could probably save a lot of money,” she said.  

To sign up

If you have questions about signing up or want to talk through your options, free help is available online or by phone. Call 1-800-318-2596, visit localhelp.healthcare.gov or make a one-on-one appointment now.

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.