As of Sunday, November 1, and through December 15, Texans can sign up for insurance for 2021 on HealthCare.Gov. Some of the plans are less expensive than in years past, and many plans are comparable in price to last year. Almost 9 out of 10 Texans who buy plans through the HealthCare.Gov Marketplace receive generous financial help to pay for coverage, and once again, some Texans will be able to get $0 per month Bronze plans. Approximately 1 million Texans get covered through the Marketplace today.
With Texas facing the worst uninsured rate in the nation even in the middle of the ongoing health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, health care advocates are working to make sure Texans know about this opportunity to obtain health coverage.
Health care advocates are working to inform Texans about several key points:
- Community organizations are standing by to offer you free help with the sign-up process.
- The sign-up window for insurance for 2021 on HealthCare.Gov is November 1 to December 15, 2020.
- Financial assistance is still available for low and middle-income shoppers to help lower the cost of their plan. In fact, 9 out of 10 consumers who signed up for coverage in Texas last year qualified for reduced-cost coverage.
- Insurance plans on HealthCare.Gov must include key benefits like mental health care, maternity care, prescription drug coverage, and hospitalization services. Plans outside HealthCare.Gov do not have to offer the same protections.
- If you are re-enrolling, you should shop to save. Plans and prices change each year, and there are new plans in many places for 2021. If you want the best deal, go back to the Marketplace to compare plans.
- The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is still the law of the land — and health coverage is available for next year! Even if state leaders and the White House succeed in their efforts to eliminate the ACA, experts expect that health coverage will still be available throughout 2021.
More information on local organizations providing assistance
The following resources are available to help Texans connect with local organizations that provide enrollment assistance:
- Austin: Call 2-1-1 or (512) 381-4520 or visit ProsperHealthCoverage.org or https://www.centralhealth.net/enroll-atx/. Organizations providing assistance include Foundation Communities, CommUnityCare, Light and Salt, Lonestar Circle of Care, and United Way of Williamson County.
- Dallas: Visit https://bit.ly/2P5JAUj and click on “Local Marketplace Assistance.” Organizations providing assistance include Parkland Health and Hospital System, Mission East Dallas, Los Barrios Unidos Clinic, and more.
- El Paso: Call Centro San Vicente at 915-858-2932 or Project Vida at 915-533- 7057, ext. 340 or 381.
- Gulf Coast/Houston: Visit https://widget.getcoveredamerica.org/ to search for assistance by zip code. Organizations providing assistance include Legacy Community Health, Change Happens, Light and Salt and Avenue360.
- Rio Grande Valley: Call MHP Salud at (956) 246-4125 or visit https://mhpsalud.org/mhp-salud-navigator-program/.
- San Antonio: Call 2-1-1 or visit enrollsa.com. Organizations providing assistance include CentroMed.
Options for Texans living outside of the areas listed above:
- Contact your local community health center for in-person assistance. Texans can use MyTexasMyHealth.org to search for their local community health center.
- HealthCare.Gov has a tool to Find Local Help. To filter results so that only the trained assisters from local community-based organizations are visible, you can remove the “Agent or Broker” box under “Filter,” so that only the “Assisters” box is showing. (Assisters are certified people trained to help Texans apply and enroll in a health plan with savings or apply for Medicaid/Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). They are required to provide fair, impartial, and accurate information, free of charge.)
Foundation Communities’ Prosper Health Coverage Program provides enrollment assistance over the phone by appointment for Texas residents that have no community-based assisters in their area. Call (512) 381-4520 or visit ProsperHealthCoverage.org.
For more information, be sure to check out our videos on health care coverage eligibility and enrollment here.