Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - 9:47am

Open enrollment for getting health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace (Affordable Care Act) began November 1 and ends December 15. The enrollment period is shortened again this year, so it is important for those wanting coverage to enroll or renew their coverage as soon as possible.

During the enrollment period:

  • People needing new insurance will need to enroll in an insurance plan to have insurance starting on January 1, 2019.
  • People currently enrolled in a Marketplace Plan will need to re-enroll in a health plan so there is not a gap in coverage.

“We want people to know that help is available not only with deciding what plan is best, but also with the application process itself,” says Janel Heinrich, Director of Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC). “We are pleased to host one of the many locations for Covering Wisconsin navigators again this year. And for those who need it, there is assistance with paying for plans as well.”

Navigator help is available by appointment at several locations in Dane County. For an appointment, visit or call (608) 261-1455. United Way of Dane County Health Connect is a local program that helps low income Dane County residents pay for certain Marketplace plans. Call 2-1-1 for details.

You must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident who is not eligible for government health care coverage (such as Medicare or Medicaid) to enroll in the Marketplace. People with good, affordable insurance through an employer might not be eligible for discounts on their plan.

After December 15, people can enroll only if they’ve had certain life events, including losing health care coverage, moving, getting married, having a baby, or adopting a child. There is no enrollment period for BadgerCare Plus; you can apply any time and enroll if you are eligible.

To get started, people should visit select their state. They will be able to see the 2019 plans and compare benefits and prices. Most people qualify for financial help to lower their monthly premium payments. If people had a Health Insurance Marketplace plan in 2018, they will need to compare 2019 health plans and prices to their current coverage, update their application, and make sure to enroll in the best plan for themselves and their family.

Help is available if needed:

  • Navigators provide free in-person help to enroll in Health Insurance Marketplace insurance. For a list of other locations and events, call 2-1-1 or go to Covering Wisconsin Get Local Help with Health Insurance and Using Care.
  • Call the Marketplace Call Center toll-free at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325. Help is available in multiple languages.