Demystifying Healthcare Enrollment

Finding the right healthcare coverage can be a real challenge. At the St. Charles Library, we’d like to help you find the information you need during the open enrollment period for Medicare, which goes from October 15 – December 7, and ACA Marketplace plans, which opens November 1 and runs through December 15.

For a personalized comprehensive listing of all the Medicare supplemental insurance options available to you based on your age, gender and location, you can use the Weiss Ratings’ Medigap tool. Because Weiss also publishes rankings of healthcare companies, your results will include information on the strength of the companies offering plans that are available to you. AARP’s Medicare Basics page also contains several tools to determine which programs and deadlines are relevant to you.

If you want to make changes to your current Medicare coverage, open enrollment runs from October 15 – December 7. The Social Security Administration controls the signup process for Medicare and contains a guide directing you based on whether you need to sign up for Medicare or makes changes to already existing benefits.

To apply for an ACA Marketplace plan between November 1 and December 15 or make changes to an existing Marketplace plan, go to Healthcare.gov and select the options for your situation. You can also call 1-800-318-2596 or go to their Local Help page to find an Agent or Broker who can walk you through your particular situation and available options. See our Affordable Care Act Trending Topic page for more information.

Because the advertising budget for Medicare and Marketplace open enrollment has been cut drastically this year, many independent advocacy organizations have stepped up to fill the information gap. These are other great resources if you’re just not sure what insurance options are available to you, or if you want to spread the word to friends and family who may be unsure of their options.

Get America Covered provides a basic checklist covering what you need to do based on your current healthcare situation. The ACA Signup Project provides an interactive map that lists each state’s ACA marketplace deadlines (some have extended deadlines), so you can help friends or relatives in other states. The Illinois Coalition for Healthcare Access is an additional organization that can connect you with local help to walk through your healthcare coverage options.

If you need some help understanding all the medical jargon on your healthcare application, this printable glossary is a great resource to have handy while filling out forms. You can also check out our Health & Medicine Research Guide for even more information on a wide range of health-related issues.

No matter your situation, there are a variety of resources to help you locate the healthcare coverage you need and here at the St. Charles Public Library we are ready to guide you to those resources.

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