By Matt Martinez
Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service
This story was originally published by Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, where you can find other stories reporting on fifteen city neighborhoods in Milwaukee. Visit milwaukeenns.org.
The federal marketplace’s open enrollment period has started, meaning people can sign up for health insurance plans provided by the Affordable Care Act.
The enrollment period lasts from now through Jan. 15. This is an extension for the enrollment, which usually lasts until Dec. 15. Those who want to get an insurance plan that goes into effect on Jan. 1 will still want to enroll by Dec. 15, however.
Due to funds from the American Rescue Plan, prices for insurance plans are lower than ever before, said Courtney Harris, outreach and partner development manager for Covering Wisconsin, which connects Wisconsin residents with health insurance and other programs.
According to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, four out of five people could pay $10 or less per month for health insurance.
Harris said the lower prices are only slated for 2022, but if the Build Back Better Act passes through the United States Congress, the benefits could be extended through 2025.
Covering Wisconsin has a connector tool where people can find enrollment specialists in or around their ZIP code. It also provides enrollment assistance over the phone. To reach Covering Wisconsin’s Milwaukee office, call 414-400-9489.
Covering Wisconsin also provides an online tool to help people determine what they may be eligible for, which can be found here. For a list of things to have ready for your appointment, click here.
HealthyMKE.com also provides an eligibility tool.
Where to get free help from community health centers
Free enrollment assistance is available at community health centers around the city. We caught up with a few of them:
Progressive Community Health Centers clinics offer financial counseling year-round to help people enroll for insurance. Call 414-935-8000 and ask to speak to a financial counselor. Services are offered to anyone in the community, not just established patients.
Progressive offers financial counseling at all three of its locations:
Lisbon Avenue Health Center: 3522 W. Lisbon Ave.
Hillside Family Health Center: 1452 N. 7th St.
12th Street Urgent Care : 945 N. 12th St.
Milwaukee Health Services offers enrollment services at the MLK Heritage Health Center, 2555 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, and the Isaac Coggs Heritage Health Center, 8200 W. Silver Spring Drive. To get services, call 414-267-2661.
Cheryl Isabell, outreach and enrollment specialist at MHSI, said the clinics also offer enrollment services for FoodShare, BadgerCare and housing services year-round. Services are open to the general public; you do not have to be an established patient to receive them.
Outreach Community Health Centers offers enrollment services virtually and in-person to all members of the community. Call 414-727-6320 to schedule an appointment. The clinic is located at 210 W. Capitol Drive.
Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center offers enrollment services. Call 414-316-5008 to reach Winona Grieger, insurance navigator for Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center, or 414-383-9526 for the main line. The clinic is located at 930 W. Historic Mitchell St.
Things to have ready
You will need:
• Identifying information, including your date of birth and name
• Your Social Security Number
• Information about who is living in your household, including children, relatives and unmarried partners
• Information about everyone being covered by your application, including their relationship to you
• Information on how you file your taxes
• Income information, both from jobs and programs like Social Security or unemployment benefits
• An estimate of your household income, which can be calculated here
• Information about any pre-existing healthcare coverage you might have
• Employment information, including any information about employer-based insurance you may be eligible for.