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Governor Cooper requests extension of Open Enrollment period for HealthCare.gov Current Deadline for Signup is Dec. 15; North Carolinians can visit HealthCare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 to sign up

RALEIGH

Governor Cooper sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Acting Secretary Eric Hargan asking him to extend the Open Enrollment period for HealthCare.gov for an additional week, through December 22, 2017.

The Open Enrollment period this year runs from November 1 to December 15, six weeks shorter than last year. North Carolina has the third-highest enrollment on the federal marketplace out of all states, so it is heavily impacted by the shortened Open Enrollment period. Over 500,000 North Carolinians signed up for 2017 insurance through HealthCare.gov last year. As of December 2, only 209,050 North Carolinians have signed up for 2018 insurance through HealthCare.gov.

North Carolina has an uninsured rate of about 13%, which is higher than the national average of about 9%. Low enrollment due to the shorted Open Enrollment period could leave thousands of North Carolinians without health insurance for themselves and their families.

“It’s important that all uninsured individuals and families in North Carolina take advantage of the opportunity to sign up for health insurance through HealthCare.gov by the December 15th deadline,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “However today, I’ve urged the federal government to allow a one-week extension of Open Enrollment to allow families the time they need to choose the plan that’s right for them.”

A full copy of the letter can be found HERE.

Open Enrollment has been extended twice in past years to give families more time to enroll in coverage. During past extensions, there were between 400,000-450,000 additional enrollments, or a 6-8% increase in total enrollment and 10-11% increase in new enrollments in just two business days.

Without the extension, the open enrollment period for HealthCare.gov health insurance plans for 2018 closes on December 15, 2017. These plans cover doctors’ visits, emergency room visits, hospital stays, maternity care, mental health care, prescription drugs, rehabilitative services, labs, preventive care and pediatric care. Last year, 90% of North Carolinians who signed up for a plan during open enrollment received financial help to assist with the cost of coverage. This assistance is still available and most people can receive coverage for less than $75 per month.

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