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Milestone Moment: Open Enrollment Approaching for Ohioans

IMAGE: In less than two weeks, Ohioans who donít have health coverage through their employer or are not eligible for Medicaid or Medicare can begin to enroll through the marketplace for health insurance.
IMAGE: In less than two weeks, Ohioans who donít have health coverage through their employer or are not eligible for Medicaid or Medicare can begin to enroll through the marketplace for health insurance.
September 19, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A milestone moment is fast approaching for hundreds of thousands of Ohioans.

As part of the Affordable Care Act, enrollment begins Oct. 1 in the health insurance marketplace, where people without health coverage or those paying higher rates can shop for more affordable policies.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio has been an outspoken supporter of health-care reform and says this is a step forward in ensuring all Americans can have predictable, affordable health insurance.

"For the millions of Ohioans across the Buckeye state, the new law will mean less anxiety, less worry, and only more money in their pockets," Brown stresses.

For individuals and families with moderate or middle incomes, financial help is available.

An analysis released Wednesday by Families USA estimates more than 916,000 Ohioans will be eligible for subsidies that will assist them in paying for health coverage through the marketplace.

Efforts are under way throughout the state to educate Ohioans on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act and inform residents that open enrollment is approaching.

Nita Carter, health equity director for the Universal Healthcare Action Network of Ohio, says people have a lot of questions about what is happening.

"When we say 'marketplace,' a lot of people still don't understand what that means,” she explains. “They're not sure whether they're going to have to be covered. Just a lot of information out there, it's really getting kind of confusing for them."

Carter says those with questions can check with their local community health center or call UHCAN Ohio or the Ohio Benefit Bank.

Information also is available online at healthcare.gov or by calling 800-318-2596.

Anyone who enrolls and pays their first month premium by December 15 will have coverage on January 1, 2014. Open enrollment ends March 31.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH