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There’s still time to enroll in health insurance, but the deadline is rapidly approaching. Tuesday, Dec. 15 is the last day people can enroll in comprehensive health insurance for 2021. Those who miss the deadline risk being uninsured next year.

“More than 69,000 Missourians have already enrolled,” said Brenda Cross, a Certified Application Counselor for the health insurance marketplace at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri. “There’s still time for people to sign up, but anyone who needs health insurance should visit HealthCare.gov today. Don’t delay.”

Health insurance is more affordable than many people think. In Missouri, 67 percent of current marketplace consumers will have plans available for 2021 that cost $10 or less per month after financial help. Nearly nine out of ten enrollees in Missouri received help paying premiums this year. In addition, 60 percent of enrollees also qualified for lower out-of-pocket costs for health care services. Even for the minority of HealthCare.gov consumers who don’t qualify for help, it’s worth taking a look at the options. Premiums went down again this year, with the average premium for the lowest-cost plan falling by 1.6 percent.

Current marketplace consumers also have a great opportunity to save money in 2021 by visiting HealthCare.gov by December 15 to compare their options. In fact, consumers who visited HealthCare.gov to compare their options and select the plan that best fits their health and financial needs saved 38 percent per month, on average, in 2019, compared to consumers whose plans were automatically renewed. 

“Many people can find good deals on HealthCare.gov and receive financial assistance to help lower their monthly health care costs,” said Cross. “Because plans and prices change year to year, it’s important to compare your plan options.”

Consumers enrolling in a plan on HealthCare.gov are guaranteed to receive comprehensive coverage, with no pre-existing condition exclusions or markups. All plans cover essential benefits, including doctor and hospital visits, prescription drugs, mental health treatment, and maternity care. In addition, consumers receive free preventive care services, such as immunizations and health screenings. 

Consumers should avoid insurance plans offered outside of HealthCare.gov that seem too good to be true. “Junk insurance” products pose huge financial risks to consumers. These products can refuse to pay for care for pre-existing conditions, charge consumers more based on their gender, and impose annual coverage limits.

“HealthCare.gov is the only website where Missouri consumers are guaranteed to get comprehensive coverage,” said Cross. “Consumers buying skimpy plans will be exposed to serious risks.”

The health insurance landscape can be confusing, but free, local in-person or virtual help is available. You can learn more information about health insurance and find someone to help you navigate the enrollment process by visiting https://covermissouri.org. Certified Application Counselors at Planned Parenthood in St. Louis are currently accepting virtual appointments. Email Brenda Cross at [email protected] to set up your virtual appointment with a Planned Parenthood assister today.

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