Q:

How do you sign up for America's Health Insurance Plans?

A:

Quick Answer

Consumers who don't have health insurance through Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program or their employers can apply for health insurance coverage at HealthCare.gov. They can also apply by phone, by using paper applications or with assistance in person. The phone number is 800-318-2596, as of 2015.

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Full Answer

The open enrollment period for signing up for health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace is annually from Nov. 1 to Jan. 31, according to HealthCare.gov. For coverage that begins on the first day of the new year, applications must be received by Dec. 15. Consumers who do not apply for insurance by the final deadline of Jan. 31 lose the option to buy insurance through the marketplace for that year unless there is a qualifying life event, such as the birth of a child. There is no enrollment deadline to apply for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Healthcare.gov allows consumers to preview available plans and prices in their states before completing their applications. Consumers who want in-person help with their health insurance applications can use the directory of assistance providers at LocalHelp.Healthcare.gov to find people and groups in their communities who assist with insurance applications for no charge.

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