GALVESTON COUNTY, Texas – Open enrollment is underway in the 2021 Health Insurance Marketplace and Coastal
Health & Wellness (CHW) is here to help and offer free application assistance.
Enrollment is open through Dec. 15. Those who do not enroll by that deadline cannot get 2021 coverage unless they
qualify for a special enrollment period. Depending on an applicant’s income, they may qualify for assistance paying
monthly health care premiums.
Plans sold during open enrollment start Jan. 1, 2021.
“There are four plan categories – bronze, silver, gold and platinum. The categories show how you and your plan will
share costs,” said Kristina Garcia, 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 preventative services including maternity
care, mammograms and other preventative 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.
“The time frame to apply for coverage is short so don’t let this pass you by. You have until Dec. 15 to enroll in a plan,”
Garcia said. “We have certified application counselors at Coastal Health & Wellness to help you along the way if you
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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Public Health Services · Coastal Health & Wellness · Emergency Medical Services · Animal Resource Center
The Galveston County Health District (GCHD) is the local public health agency for Galveston County, Texas.
GCHD provides services and programs that protect the everyday health and well-being of Galveston County.
P.O. Box 939 La Marque, Texas 77568 • (409) 938-7221