The Roundup -

Health Insurance Enrollment Deadline Looming

Non-profit Group Offering Free Help for Consumers Through Dec 15


December 11, 2019

CHARLESTON – The Affordable Care Act is still in place and open enrollment is almost over for Montanans who need to enroll, re-enroll or switch health insurance plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Four weeks into open enrollment, there has been a 29% decrease in sign-ups in Montana when compared to 18,428 the same time period only two years ago. So far this year, 13,006 people have enrolled, compared to at this time two years ago.

Montana Navigator, a federally grant-funded project operated by First Choice Services, cautions people to pay close attention to the new deadline this year. The Health Insurance Marketplace offers monthly subsidies for people to help pay for their insurance plans. However, applicants must enroll through the Marketplace call center or online at to get those subsidies. Jeremy Smith, program director for Montana Navigator, says that many people are confused about their options this year. He says that some think the ACA is no longer in place, and many are signing up for limited plans which may not cover their needs. He said “People are telling us that they are ending up on websites other than and getting inundated with calls from people selling them plans. That may account for some of the decrease this year.” He noted that outreach funds were cut last year as well, so people may not be as aware that free help is available. He said, “We are trying our best to get the word out that if you want a 2020 health insurance plan through the Marketplace then you have to sign up by December 15, 2019.” He urges anyone who needs assistance to reach out to his group for free help. He added, “We don’t work on commission. Our job is to make sure you get the best insurance for you and your family and guide you through the whole enrollment process.” According to Smith, most people in Montana who apply qualify for a subsidy to make the insurance more affordable, and in fact 58% find a plan for less than $10 a month, and 73% find a plan for less than $75 per month.

Montanans who need help enrolling or have questions about health insurance can take advantage of the free help that Montana Navigator provides by calling 1-877-568-NAVI. The office will be staffed until 5PM on Friday, December 13. More information is available at:


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