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Health insurance marketplace open enrollment begins November 1

No one plans to get sick or injured, but most people need medical care at some point. Health insurance helps pay for the costs of that care as well as other benefits, including preventive care. The health insurance marketplace 2018 open enrollment begins on November 1 and ends on December 15. People can apply for or renew health insurance marketplace coverage by visiting healthcare.gov.

Sometimes known as the health insurance "exchange," the marketplace helps uninsured people find health coverage. After completing the marketplace application, people may qualify for:

  • Private insurance plans. People might qualify for lower costs based on their household size and income. If they don’t qualify for lower costs, they can still use the marketplace to buy insurance. Plans cover essential health benefits, pre-existing conditions and preventive care.
  • Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These programs cover families with limited income, disabilities and other circumstances. If someone qualifies, the marketplace will share information with the state agency and they’ll contact the individual.

The enrollment period is limited, so it’s important to enroll for 2018 coverage before December 15, 2017. To apply or learn more, visit healthcare.gov or call the marketplace call center at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users can call 1-855-889-4325.

Certified application counselors are available at the Flathead Community Health Center to assist with enrollment. To schedule an appointment, email [email protected] or call (406) 758-2165.

Key dates for the health insurance marketplace

  • November 1, 2017: Open enrollment starts for 2018.
  • December 15, 2017: Open enrollment ends.
  • December 31, 2017: Coverage ends for 2017 marketplace plans.
  • January 1, 2018: Coverage can begin for 2018 marketplace plans.