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You Can Still Enroll in Healthcare through the Affordable Care Act

Free, in-person help & financial assistance available for people who need coverage

Contact: Michelle Nicolet, Marketing Director, Shriver Center

CHICAGO — The open enrollment period for people buying health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) started on November 1, 2016. Since the election, there have been some confusing messages about the continuation of the ACA. These messages are only political words right now. The ACA is still the law of the land and people still want and need affordable, quality coverage for 2017. Getting in right now is more important than ever in order to get covered and stay covered. People who are uninsured or who would like to change their existing Marketplace plans can start shopping for coverage online immediately.

Below are some tips for consumers.

Financial assistance is available

Most consumers who shop for health insurance through Obamacare are eligible for financial assistance to help pay for coverage. With the help of financial assistance, most consumers will be able to find plans for less than $75 per month. Depending on household income, consumers instead might be eligible for low- or no-cost health insurance provided through the Medicaid program. Consumers can check which program is right for them here:

Hablas español? Compruebe su elegibilidad aquí:

It’s easy to compare health plan options

Illinois consumers will have, on average, 30 plans to choose from this year. Using, consumers can see what kind of coverage they qualify for and how much financial help they can get. Most of those currently enrolled in Illinois could save over $1,000 annually by shopping around for new plans.

Free, in-person help is available

Do you need help getting covered or understanding your options? Use this “Get Covered Connector” tool:

You can use the tool to set up a free appointment with a trained enrollment assister near you. These assisters help consumers check their eligibility, shop for coverage, and understand the options available to them.

Hablas español? Visita aquí para obtener ayuda:

Sign up by December 15; Get covered January 1

Open enrollment began on November 1st and ends on January 31st, 2017. But in order to be covered starting January 1st, 2017, consumers will have to sign up by December 15th, 2016.

Avoid a Penalty

Most people who do not enroll in a health insurance plan by January 31st, 2017 or get an exemption will have to pay a penalty of at least $695. Consumers can avoid this penalty by using the tool above and working with trained assisters to identify and enroll in appropriate plans.

Get Covered! Get Healthy!

In just two weeks, over one million people have already started signing up for affordable, high-quality insurance through Obamacare.

When consumers sign up for coverage through Obamacare, they get access to quality insurance, including free preventive services, like screenings and immunizations, that helps them stay healthy and the financial assistance that helps them afford it.

Have questions about getting covered?

Visit or call (866) 311-1119

The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. We specialize in practical solutions. We advocate for and serve clients directly, while also building the capacity of the nation’s legal aid providers to advance justice and opportunity for their clients.

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