New Options for Individuals Available During Open Enrollment

ILLINOIS (IRN) — Open enrollment for health insurance plans set to start in the new year is underway with new coverage options.

Congress got rid of the penalty for not having insurance – essentially removing the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act, but Illinois Department of Insurance Director Jennifer Hammer said people should still find a plan.

“We advise all consumers that they should get health insurance so that you can get things like preventative care and other things that prevent a high out-of-pocket cost later on,” Hammer said.

Based on income, Hammer said consumers can be eligible for Medicaid or get subsidies through the Affordable Care Act.

“The third option is short-term limited duration plans and association health plans that maybe weren’t out there last year,” Hammer said. “We’ve approved quite a few of those so we advise you to shop around.”

Some of the short-term plans don’t provide all the levels of coverage as some of the other policies, Hammer said, so it’s important to know what you’re getting.

It’s not just individuals who can use the health insurance open enrollment period to find coverage. Small businesses can also find plans.

“So there still are some small business plans, we call them small group plans, offered through the shop or the exchange as well Get Covered Illinois,” Hammer said. “We’re finding that throughout the nation really the shop numbers took off. The small businesses were able to go to their health insurance agents and get better products for their employees there and so though not a lot of small businesses purchase through the shop there it’s still available.”

If you need assistance, Hammer said to go online to or call 1-866-311-1119.

Open enrollment ends Dec. 15.