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Flu Season Has Arrived: Get Your Flu Shot!

Have you gotten your flu vaccine this season? If not, now's the time. Getting the flu vaccine is the best defense you can have in protecting yourself and your family from getting the flu and its possible complications that can lead to severe illness, hospitalization and even death.

Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year. The full protection from the flu shot takes up to 2 weeks to set in, so getting the vaccine early gives you the best protection and protects you all flu season.

Supplies of the vaccine are plentiful and available through health care providers and many pharmacies. Public Health Madison & Dane County offers free flu shots by appointment for adults and children without health insurance, and for children with Medical Assistance. To schedule an appointment, call (608) 266-4821.

The flu is not a stomach bug, and is much worse than a bad cold. It causes high fever, cough, sore throat, body aches and oftentimes many days of missed work or school. Young children, pregnant women, people 65 years and older and people with certain medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease are particularly vulnerable to the flu. 

While the shot is the best protection against the flu, there are other ways to stay healthy and prevent the spread of flu. 

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Enrollment in Health Insurance Marketplace Starts November 1

The Open Enrollment period for the Health Insurance Marketplace begins November 1 and runs through December 15. It is a shorter enrollment period than prior years and there are some key dates to remember:

  • Open enrollment for 2018 coverage is November 1, 2017-December 15, 2017.
  • You must enroll or change plans by December 15, 2017 if you want your new or updated Health Insurance Marketplace plan to start January 1. 
  • If you were enrolled in a Marketplace plan for 2017, re-enroll by December 15 so you won’t have a break in coverage. 

To get started, visit and select your state. You will be able to see the 2018 plans, and compare benefits and prices. Most people can qualify for financial help with the cost. If you had a Health Insurance Marketplace plan in 2017, you will need to compare 2018 health plans and prices to your current coverage, update your application, and enroll in a plan.

Need Help?

  • Call the marketplace Call Center toll-free at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325.  Help is available in other languages.
  • Local Healthcare Navigators provide free in-person help to enroll in health insurance, and education on how to use your health insurance. Health Care Navigator help  is available by appointment at many locations in Dane County. For an appointment, go to the Covering Wisconsin or call them at (608) 261-1455.
  • For a list of other locations and events, call 2-1-1 or go to Covering Wisconsin.