Health Insurance Open Enrollment November 1, 2015 – January 31, 2016.

The Health Insurance Marketplace is a new way to find affordable coverage that fits your family’s needs.

Can I afford health insurance?
Financial assistance is available to help pay for the cost of insurance. More than 90 percent of Floridians who already signed up on the Marketplace qualified for financial help.

What benefits do the plans cover?
All plans offered through the Marketplace must cover the important benefits, including doctor visits, hospitalizations, maternity care, emergency room visits, prescriptions and more. All plans also cover free preventive care with no co-pay. This means free cancer screenings, checkups and more.

If I’m already healthy, do I still need insurance?
No one plans to get sick or injured, but when the unexpected occurs, you want to know that you and your family are covered. Medical debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy in the U.S. Additionally, if you don’t secure coverage for 2016, you may have to pay a fine of $695, $395 per child or 2.5 percent of your income, whichever is greater.

Can I be denied coverage?
No one can be turned down or charged more for coverage because they are sick or have a pre-existing condition like asthma, diabetes or even cancer.

When is the enrollment period?
November 1, 2015:
Open Enrollment starts. This is the first day you can enroll in a 2016 insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Coverage can start as soon as January 1, 2016.

December 15, 2015: Last day to enroll in or change plans for new coverage to start January 1, 2016.

January 1, 2016: 2016 coverage starts for those who enroll or change plans by December 15, 2015.

January 15, 2016: Last day to enroll in or change plans for new coverage that will start February 1, 2016.

January 31, 2016: 2016 Open Enrollment ends. Enrollments or changes between January 16, 2016, and January 31, 2016, take effect March 1, 2016.

These are important dates to remember because in 2016, the tax penalties for not having health insurance are going from a minimum of $325 to $695.

How do I enroll?
Call the Heart of Florida United Way’s 2-1-1 to schedule an appointment with a trained professional who will assist you in the process or visit SignUpCentralFL.com. You can also text your zip code to 898211. Assistance is free.