Spread the word: Affordable Care Act enrollment open until Jan. 31


We’re just a humble little public health blog. But we can still do our part. If you or someone you know need help getting health insurance coverage before next week’s enrollment deadline on Jan. 31, here are some good resources.

First, why do this? Because this week, the Trump administration abruptly canceled advertising and outreach scheduled to run during this final week of Affordable Care Act enrollment. Apparently, he even pulled ads that were already paid for. But, you can still enroll. According to Paul Demko at Politico:

(The Trump administration) is also halting all media outreach designed to spur signups in the days leading up to the deadline. Emails are no longer being sent out to individuals who visited HealthCare.gov, the enrollment website, to encourage them to finish signing up. Those emails had proven highly successful in getting stragglers to complete enrollment before the deadline.

Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, a consumer group that supports the law, called the decision "a mean-spirited effort that can only result in fewer people getting coverage who need it."

“You can’t take comments by the Trump administration about trying to help people gain coverage seriously," Pollack said. "It is not a heavy lift to tell people about the opportunities for getting enrolled. It is not a heavy lift to continue ads that have already been paid for.”

The last five days of the open enrollment season are seen as critical because many individuals procrastinate and then join a last-minute sign-up surge. That’s particularly true for younger and healthier customers who are crucial to making insurance markets work.

The enrollment deadline is looming, but here are some resources you can spread the word about:

  • At HealthCare.gov, you can enter your ZIP code and locate people and groups in your community that can help you find and purchase health coverage.
  • Curious if you qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program? Find out here.
  • Find more free enrollment assistance through Get Covered America. They also have a calculator you can use to determine if you qualify for financial assistance.
  • Find it easier to locate enrollment resources using a map of America? Check out this tool from the American Hospital Association.
  • Unsure what all that insurance jargon means? Here’s a handy glossary.
  • The American College of Physicians offers state-specific enrollment resources for providers and patients.

Kim Krisberg is a freelance public health writer living in Austin, Texas, and has been writing about public health for 15 years.

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