LUBBOCK, Texas – The deadline for open enrollment in Healthcare.gov is Dec. 15 for plans that begin coverage on Jan, 1, 2023.

Dr. LaShawn McIver, Director of the Office of Minority Health at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, took questions on Tuesday. She said plans can sometimes be $10 or less because of recent new legislation.

LaShawn McIver
LaShawn McIver in a Zoom video interview (Nexstar/Staff)

“The Inflation Reduction Act has lowered premiums for most people who currently have Marketplace health plans and expanded access to financial help for more customers,” McIver said.

McIver also said, “Four out of five customers can find plans for $10 or less per month after the newly expanded financial assistance.”

What you pay is based on your age, family size, income and where you live.

“For instance, in Lubbock,” McIver said, “a single person, 30-year-old woman, making $34,000 a year, can find 17 plans under $10.”

For comparison, we shopped outside Healthcare.gov and found a basic “hospital and doctor” plan for a single 30-year-old woman in Lubbock would cost more than $120 per month.

McIver said all the marketplace plans on Healthcare.gov include at least emergency services, hospitalizations, pregnancy, maternity, newborn care, mental health, substance abuse disorders and prescription drug coverage.

One example of a plan from Healthcare.gov
An example from Healthcare.gov with a 30-year-old single male living in Zip Code 79423 with an income of $40,000 as of 12/13.2022

McIver said there are approximately 5.35 million uninsured adults in Texas, or nearly 21% of the population.

An article published in 2020 on the State Comptroller of Texas website indicated the uninsured rate in the Lone Star State ranged from 16.6% to 18.4% from 2015 through 2019. The national rate ranged from 9.2 to 9.4% during the same timeframe.

The same article said 60% of uninsured Texans have annual family incomes of less than $35,000 a year, while 4% of Texans earning $100,000 or more are uninsured.

“Since the start of the 2023 Marketplace open enrollment period, nearly 5.5 million Americans have signed up for coverage for the 2023 plan year, including over 1 million Texans,” McIver said.

The CMS website said, “People generally need to submit an application and choose a plan by December 15 for their coverage to start January 1.”

Those wishing to sign up can visit Healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325). Click here for a checklist of items you will need for signing up.

The following is a list of important dates:

  • Nov, 1, 2022: Open Enrollment started — first day you could enroll in, re-enroll in, or change a 2023 health plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace®. Coverage can start as soon as Jan. 1, 2023.
  • Dec. 15, 2022: Last day to enroll in or change plans for coverage to start Jan. 1, 2023.
  • Jan. 1, 2023: 2023 coverage starts for those who enroll in or change plans by Dec. 15, 2022 and paid their first premium.
  • Jan. 15, 2023: Last day to enroll in or change a 2023 health plan. After this date, you can enroll in or change plans only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
  • Feb. 1, 2023: 2023 coverage starts for those who enroll in or change plans Dec. 16, 2022 through Jan. 15, 2023 and pay their first premium.