Healthcare.gov is now open for people to sign up for health insurance, or switch their health care plan for calendar year 2018. From November 1 to December 15, Floridians may select a plan for coverage that begins January 1, 2018.
NOTE: Due to Hurricane Irma, most Floridians will qualify for a special enrollment extension period from Dec. 15 until Dec. 31, giving residents more time to sign up for Healthcare.gov coverage. You must call 1-800-318-2596 to request the extension, and local navigators are here to help. Visit http://pinellascounty.org/navigators or call (727) 464-8411 to schedule an appointment with a Pinellas County Navigator or find local walk-in times at area locations.
For consumers who have health insurance through Healthcare.gov, your coverage will end on December 31, 2017. If you take no action, you will be automatically re-enrolled in your current plan, or - if it is no longer offered - something similar.
There are several important reasons that you should still visit Healthcare.gov during open enrollment:
- Your income and employment information may be out of date. Updating this information will ensure that any financial assistance you receive is calculated accurately - and help keep things simple for you during income tax season.
- Your insurance company may have made changes to your coverage. Insurers sometimes change things like hospital networks and co-payment rates. Log in to make sure your plan still meets your needs and your budget.
- New plans may be available that better suit your needs. Even if you were satisfied with your 2017 plan, it's still a good idea to review any new options for 2018 coverage on the marketplace.
If you live in Florida and do not have health insurance, you may use www.HealthCare.gov to apply for health coverage for 2018. Open enrollment is an opportunity to compare the various health plans available to you and find out if you qualify for financial assistance. During last year's open enrollment period, over 90 percent of Florida customers were eligible for some form of financial assistance made available through the Affordable Care Act. Every plan available on www.HealthCare.Gov is required to cover certain essential benefits, such as prescription drug coverage, doctors visits, hospital stays, primary care, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I have trouble with my application, is there anyone to help me?
Live representatives with www.HealthCare.Gov are available at 1-800-318-2596.
What if I have health insurance through my job?
The Marketplace is designed for people whose jobs do not provide health care benefits, or individuals who are self-employed and need to buy their own insurance. If you have job-based health insurance you like, you can keep it. You're considered to have what the Affordable Care Act qualifies as minimum essential coverage. You don't need to change to a Marketplace plan in order to avoid the individual mandate penalty.
Where can I get local advice about my health care options?
Authorized navigators can help you enroll in the Marketplace. For more information on Pinellas County Navigators, visit: http://pinellascounty.org/navigators or call (727) 464-8411 to schedule an appointment or find local walk-in times at area locations.
Pinellas County Navigator Locations:
Human Services Clearwater
2189 Cleveland St., Ste 230, Clearwater, FL 33765
Adam Thibodeau: (727) 464-8455
Florida Health Department of Pinellas County - Clearwater
310 N Myrtle Ave., Clearwater, FL 33755
Angie Ruiz (En español): (727) 469-5800 ext. 5198
InterCultural Advocacy Institute
612 Franklin St., Clearwater, FL 33756
Angie Ruiz (En español) : (727) 469-5800 ext. 5198
Dr Martin Luther King Jr NFC (Wednesday’s only)
900 N Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., Clearwater, FL 33755
Lauren Camp (En español): (727) 588-4040 ext. 3143
Florida Health Department of Pinellas County - Largo
12420 130th Ave. N., Largo, FL 33774
Lauren Camp (En español): (727) 588-4040 ext. 3143
Florida Health Department of Pinellas County - Mid County
8751 Ulmerton Rd., Largo, FL 33771
Tammy Watson: (727) 524-4410 ext. 7677
Florida Health Departmentof Pinellas County - Pinellas Park
6350 76th Ave. N., Pinellas Park, FL 33781
Luis De La Cruz (En español): (727) 547-7780 ext. 7153
Mattie Williams NFC (Fridays By Appointment)
1003 MLK Jr St. N., Safety Harbor, FL 34695
Staci Sheeder: (727) 647-4704
Florida Health Department of Pinellas County
205 MLK Jr St. N., St. Petersburg, FL 33701
David Thut: (727) 820-4139
Jarryd Thompson: (727) 824-6980
647 1st Ave. N., St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Pierre Guillet (Creole): (727) 582-7545
Daystar Life Center Neighborhood Family Center
226 6th St. S., St. Petersburg, FL 33701
During Open Enrollment Tuesday Evenings By Appointment: (727) 464-8411
Lealman/Asian Neighborhood Family Center (By Appointment)
4255 56th Ave. N., St. Petersburg, FL 33714
Luis De La Cruz (En español): (727) 403-0483
Florida Health Department of Pinellas County - Tarpon Springs
301 S Disston Ave., Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
Staci Sheeder: (727) 942-5457 ext. 6137
What if I have Medicare or Medicaid?
If you receive coverage through Medicare or Medicaid, you do not need to apply for health insurance through the Marketplace. If you have Medicare, you can visit this page to learn about the many ways the Affordable Care Act is improving the program and keeping seniors' costs low. If you have Medicaid, you may have heard that the Affordable Care Act improves this low-cost health care program. It is true that the health care reform law provides states with incentives to expand Medicaid eligibility and improve benefits. Unfortunately, Governor Rick Scott and the Florida state legislature have refused to embrace Medicaid expansion - jeopardizing the ability of many low-wage workers in Florida to receive care through Medicaid. Congressman Crist continues to fight for Medicaid expansion in Florida.
What about if I own a small business?
The new Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) simplifies the process of buying health insurance for your small business. The advantages of using SHOP include:
- You control the coverage you offer and how much you pay toward employee premiums.
- You can compare health plans online on an apples-to-apples basis, which helps you make a decision that's right for your business.
- You may qualify for a small business health care tax credit worth up to 50% of your premium costs.
- You can still deduct from your taxes the rest of your premium costs not covered by the tax credit.
Call now to get your SHOP and small business questions answered by a customer service representative at 1-800-706-7893 or (TTY: 1-800-706-7915 ). The call center is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.