SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - The first open enrollment period started just a year ago for health insurance available through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and now state leaders are looking ahead to year two.
According to Mike Claffey, state health care spokesman, enrollment in the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace during the initial six-month enrollment period exceeded the federally established goal by 52 percent.
"We're very excited about the first year, the success we achieved in the first year getting more than 680,000 people enrolled," he says. "But now we're focused on doing just as good a job in the second year.
"We're gearing up. There's going to be a second enrollment period that starts Nov. 15. "
Claffey says 217,000 people enrolled in plans available in the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace and 468,000 signed up for coverage through Medicaid expansion.
The next enrollment period runs through Feb. 15. Information is available at GetCoveredIllinois.gov.
Claffey says the Affordable Care Act does allow for people in some categories to sign up for a plan now.
"If you recently lost your job that had health insurance, or you recently got married or had a baby or recently moved to Illinois from out of state, then you are eligible for what's called special enrollment period," he explains.
For those who enrolled in the first year, Claffey says there is a provision for automatic re-enrollment. But he advises folks to go online to review plans, or speak with a trained navigator.
"There's a lot of information that you need to sort through and it would make sense to get that face-to-face assistance from someone who's familiar with the range of options that are out there as well as the financial assistance," he points out.
Claffey says there are more than three dozen community organizations around the state participating in the state's in-person counselor program.
He says these navigators educate consumers about the financial assistance available under the ACA for those who qualify based on their income, and assist in selecting and enrolling in a health care plan.
Mary Kuhlman — Public News Service, IL