Dec. 23 is the deadline to buy insurance if you want it to go into effect on Jan. 1, said Brad Clark, navigator project director for the Neighborhood Health Association in Toledo.
If you miss that deadline, there’s still plenty of time to buy health insurance, Clark said; open enrollment continues through the end of March.
But keep in mind people must buy insurance before the 15th of the month if they want it to take effect on the first of the next month. So people who enroll on Jan. 14 will get their insurance beginning Feb. 1, but people who enroll Jan. 16 will have to wait until March, Clark said.
Several state organizations are offering “navigators,” people who will help consumers go through their options. Family Health Services of Erie County, located at the south campus of Firelands Regional Medical Center, has an office for a navigator provided by Clark’s group.
That Sandusky navigator, Maria Carrion, also can help people enroll in Medicaid.
Potential customers can also try healthcare.gov, the health insurance marketplace website. It has improved since its much-criticized launch, said Clark and Wilson Forney, the executive director of Family Health Services of Erie County.
“Walk into the marketplace and take it one click at a time,” Forney said. “It’s not as bad as the general outcry has been”
Some people buying health insurance from healthcare.gov will qualify for federal subsidies to help them pay for it.
A subsidy calculator is available at the Kaiser Family Foundation website, kff.org/interactive/ subsidy-calculator, Clark said.