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The Austin Chronicle: ACA Open Enrollment Begins in a Hurry

November 13, 2020

Open enrollment for Affordable Care Act health insurance began on Nov. 1 – and ends Dec. 15. In a press conference on Monday, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Mayor Steve Adler, Council Member Greg Casar, Foundation Communities Executive Director Walter Moreau, and local musician Lesly Reynaga urged people to apply for health insurance in the short window they have, especially during COVID-19.

"512/381-4520 – if folks call that number, we can start walking them through the documents they need and get them enrolled," said Moreau. Foundation Communities enrolls about 5,000 people every year, and because they can't do it in person this time, outreach is more important than ever. "The limiting factor is people knowing about it," said Adler.

Under the ACA, those with refugee status may apply, and preexisting conditions are not a barrier. "We're a multilingual staff, so we can help people who have language barriers or computer barriers," said Moreau. Coverage is not limited to Travis County residents – people from Kyle, Round Rock, Lock­hart, and all Central Texas counties are eligible.

Foundation Communities also partners with the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians to insure around 1,800 musicians every year. Reynaga said, "I know there are a lot of plans out there ... The reason Foundation Communities is so important is [that] they have specialized people who will guide you through the process." There are six insurance companies and more than 70 plans to choose from in the ACA marketplace for Travis County, so Moreau says, "We do hope people will make an appointment right away – especially if you need more time to make a decision between plans or research doctor lists or pharmacy lists. Health insurance is complicated, so the sooner people can call us, the better."

The ACA was brought before the U.S. Supreme Court for the third time Tuesday, Nov. 10, but Congressman Doggett said, "Nothing the Supreme Court may do will affect any right that you can get if you sign up before Dec. 15. Some are trying so hard to take away your right to get health insurance – don't let them get away with it. You've got a year of coverage, and that's really important in the midst of this pandemic."

To get enrolled, go to www.prosperhealthcoverage.org or call 512/381-4520. Have your Social Security number, income, projected income for next year (Foundation Communities can help with that calculation), 2019 tax return, and www.healthcare.gov username and password at the ready, or get the full list of requirements once you start the process.

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