GALVESTON COUNTY, Texas – Enrollment in the 2021 Health Insurance Marketplace has been reopened through Aug. 15
during a new special COVID-19 enrollment period.
With job losses continuing to mount amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and millions of people having lost their job-based
health insurance since the start of this public health and economic crisis, enrollment has reopened to give those who
need health insurance a new opportunity to get covered.
Enrollment at HealthCare.gov is open through Aug. 15, giving consumers additional time to take advantage of new
savings through the American Rescue Plan and to enroll or re-evaluate their coverage needs with increased tax credits
available to reduce premiums.
“There are four plan categories – bronze, silver, gold and platinum. The categories show how you and your plan will
share costs,” said Kristina Garcia, Coastal Health & Wellness (CHW) patient services manager. “The categories have
nothing to do with the quality of care you’re signing up for.”
All offered plans cover essential health benefits, pre-existing conditions and preventive services including maternity
care, mammograms and other preventive care services.
“You cannot be denied health coverage for having pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer,”
Different plan types are designed to meet different needs. Some plans restrict provider choices or encourage clients to
get care from the plan’s network of doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and other medical service providers. Other plans pay
a greater share of costs when clients use providers outside of the plan’s network.
“The process can sometimes be a little confusing. We have staff here to help you figure out what all this means for you
and your family. What you pay for insurance depends on your income,” Garcia said.
Depending on income, applicants may also qualify for an insurance plan with tax credits or for Medicaid/ Children’s
Health Insurance Program (CHIP). There is no open enrollment for individuals to apply for Medicaid, CHIP or the Healthy
Texas Woman’s Program.
Health Insurance Marketplace is for those who do not have health coverage through a job, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP
or another source that provides qualifying health coverage.
Those who have job-based insurance may buy a plan through Health Insurance Marketplace, but will pay full price unless
their employer’s insurance does not meet certain standards. Most job-based plans do meet the required standards.
Those who have Medicare cannot switch to Health Insurance Marketplace, supplement their coverage with a plan or buy
a dental plan.
CHW’s certified application counselors are here to help you along the way if you have questions. Galveston County
residents with questions about the Health Insurance Marketplace can call CHW at 409-938-2204 or visit the clinic at
9850-C Emmett F. Lowry Expressway in Texas City.
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Coastal Health & Wellness has clinic locations in Texas City and Galveston, offering primary medical, dental and counseling
services. CHW accepts Medicaid, Medicare and many major insurance plans and offers discounted rates for those who qualify.
Call (409) 938-2234 for information or appointments. Learn more at www.coastalhw.org.