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Open Enrollment for Health Insurance is On

Health insurance open enrollment started over the weekend. Credit: LilJoel/Morguefile.com
Health insurance open enrollment started over the weekend. Credit: LilJoel/Morguefile.com
November 2, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. – If you need health insurance, now's the time to sign up.

The annual open enrollment for health coverage through North Dakota's federally run exchange started over the weekend.

A Gallup survey earlier this year showed almost 7 percent of North Dakotans are without health insurance, but that's down quite a bit from 2013, when it was 15 percent.

Annette Raveneau, regional communications director for the health care advocacy campaign Get Covered America, says people who can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it will face a pretty hefty fine.

"For the 2016 taxes, if you don't have health insurance throughout the year, you would be penalized $695 per person or 2.5 percent of your income, whatever is greater," she points out.

Last year, there were 30 plans to choose from on the exchange in North Dakota. In 2016, dental plans for adults will be offered for the first time.

People who want their new insurance coverage to start on Jan. 1 have to sign up by Dec. 15.

Raveneau says if you think you can't afford it, you should check out the health insurance exchange at healthcare.gov anyway, because at least 13,000 North Dakotans are receiving federal financial assistance to help pay for their health insurance – and they get an average subsidy of $231 a month.

"Some think that health insurance is too costly,” she says. “There is financial assistance available to make your health insurance affordable for you and your family."

North Dakota opted to let the federal government run its insurance exchange, and last year the state chose to expand Medicaid to cover more low-income people with the Affordable Care Act.





Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - ND