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You & Your Family

Gulf Coast collaborative kicks off campaign to help uninsured residents with ACA’s open enrollment

Gulf Coast collaborative kicks off campaign to help uninsured residents with ACA’s open enrollment

Uninsured residents in Houston and surrounding counties can now get help finding an Affordable Care Act (ACA) health plan from the Gulf Coast Health Insurance Marketplace Collaborative.

The collaborative launched today an extensive three-month outreach, public education and enrollment campaign in communities across the greater Houston area.

The campaign kick-off comes one day before the start of open enrollment for 2015 health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace. An estimated 1.3 million people in the 13-county greater Houston area lack health insurance. 

“If you are one of the nearly 198,000 residents in our area who signed up during the previous open enrollment, it’s time to renew your coverage,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “If not, it’s time to enroll in a health plan that best suits your family’s medical and financial needs.”   

Area residents will have access to 71 insurance plans from which they may choose the coverage level that best fits their budget. Open enrollment runs through Feb. 15, 2015.

The campaign includes trained advisors to meet with uninsured residents one-on-one. Referred to as navigators and certified application counselors, the advisors will help residents who need to explore their insurance options or sign up for a health plan through the Marketplace.

All of the agencies in the collaborative will organize or attend outreach events, distribute educational materials and visit community sites such as grocery stores, day care centers, businesses and churches.

The Houston Department of Health and Human Services (HDHHS) has already established a call center. A week ago HDHHS employees at the call center began answering questions from the public about enrolling in a health plan and setting appointments with navigators across the region.

Residents can obtain enrollment assistance or more information from the center by calling 832-393-5423 or toll-free 1-855-892-8082. They can also go online to visit the Marketplace at HealthCare.gov or its Spanish version at CuidadoDeSalud.gov  or the collaborative’s site EnrollGulfCoast.com.

The collaborative represents 18 local non-profit agencies brought together by the HDHHS in 2013 to coordinate and facilitate enrollment.

Its strategies helped the Houston area reach 197,650 enrollments during the first open enrollment, surpassing the initial Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services target of 138,000.

The agencies reached out to more than 500,000 people and visited one-on-one with more than 150,000 residents.

Agencies comprising the collaborative are the Association for Advancement of Mexican Americans, Change Happens, Children’s Defense Fund, Enroll America, Gateway to Care, Harris County Healthcare Alliance, Harris Health System, Houston Area Urban League, Houston Department of Health and Human Services, Light and Salt, Memorial Hermann Health System, One Voice, Second Wind for Life Initiative, SRA International, Texas Organizing Project, Texans Together, Vecino Health Centers and Young Invincibles.

 

 

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