Important changes to know about before open enrollment for healthcare November 1 through December 15

NOW: Important changes to know about before open enrollment for healthcare November 1 through December 15

Aurora Health Care is trying to get the word out that help is out there to enroll in the Affordable Healthcare Act.

 Veronica Garcia, a financial advocate at Aurora Health Care who works at Aurora St. Luke’s and helps people who may not have health insurance, will be a special live guest on the CBS 58 News at 4 TODAY.

November 1 starts the open enrollment period on

"Aurora Health Care has a purpose of helping people live well," explains Garcia. "And that includes both helping people be healthy as well as understand what insurance options might be available."

Anyone who comes into one of Aurora's hospitals or clinics is asked if they have insurance. If they answer no, one of advocates are on hand to explain how the marketplace works on, and answer any of their questions.

It’s important to note that Aurora will not recommend any specific plans, rather serve as an educational resource to them.

There are a number of things new, but two things really jump out to most people.

First, the period people can sign up is MUCH shorter than last year.

In the past, people have had 12 or more weeks to sign up.

This year, the time period to sign up is only 6 weeks. November 1st through December 15th.

"It’s really important for people to know the time period is shorter."

Also, several of the big insurers on the marketplace last year are no longer on, which means people have fewer choices and really need to go to to sign up for a plan that meets their needs.

If you don’t go to the website and sign-up after looking at options, you would be automatically re-enrolled, but this runs the risk of you getting matched up with a plan that may not include your doctor.

Aurora feels protecting your health should be your number one priority, and there’s no better way to do that than to have health insurance.

"Insurance will cover the cost of expenses related to illness or accidents," says Garcia. "Inn some cases, it can prevent financial hardships due to unexpected health expenses."

Changes to your insurance plan need to happen during the open enrollment period (November 1-December 15, 2017). However, you are allowed to make changes during the year if you have a life event, such as the birth of a child, marriage or even a new job.

The most important piece of advice for anyone with questions is to understand there are lots of free resources out there to help people navigate the federal marketplace. offers great information, as do many community partners and health systems.

You can also call Aurora Health Care’s Patient Enrollment Help Line: 1-877-732-6334. For a list of events where you can get free enrollment help locally, see the flyer below.

Share this article: