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Open-enrollment deadline nears for Tennesseans

Staff Reports • Dec 14, 2017 at 1:17 PM

NASHVILLE – The clock is ticking down to the deadline to sign up for health coverage on the federal health exchange.

The open enrollment deadline is Friday at midnight.

With the period being six weeks shorter than it was in prior years, state agencies and consumer groups are working hard to make sure people take action.

Scott Mulhauser, a board member with the Consumers for Quality Care, said while the ACA has gone a long way toward expanding access to health care, there is more work to be done.

"Eighty-nine percent of Tennessee is insured, and that's a great number, but I think a lot of us want to see that number go up," he said. "You just want to make sure that folks have the insurance that works for them."

There is free help available, both in person and over the phone. More information can be found at getcoveredtenn.org or by calling 844-644-5443 to speak with trained enrollment navigators.

Before someone signs up, they'll need their Social Security number, those of your family members, any immigration documents and employer and income information for each member of the household.

Last year, more than 230,000 Tennesseans signed up for coverage through the health exchange.

For 2018, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, Cigna and Oscar Health offer plans in various parts of the state.

Mulhauser urged people to take action.

"You're in these final days and final hours, and Friday night is the deadline, and so it's critical that folks just take a look, they go online and they make sure that they're covered, their family is covered," he said. "Use this open enrollment period to make it work for you."

Nationwide, as of this week, 4.7 million people signed up for health care through the exchange.

Some states with their own health exchanges were able to extend their enrollment period until Dec. 22. Others, like North Carolina, requested the deadline be extended, but that hasn't happened to date.

— Stephanie Carson, Public News Service

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