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Health insurance enrollment deadline Dec. 15

Dec. 15 is the last day uninsured individuals can apply for a health insurance plan through the federal Marketplace and have their coverage start Jan. 1, 2016.

Hospitals, other providers and community advocates all across the state are stepping up efforts to reach the more than 100,000 Alabamians eligible for low-cost health insurance.

“One of the easiest ways for individuals to apply is to call 2-1-1 and ask for an appointment with an enrollment specialist,” executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Alabama Hospital Association Rosemary Blackmon said in a release. “We realize it’s sometimes confusing to choose the right plan; that’s why hospitals have collaborated with 2-1-1 Connects Alabama and Enroll Alabama to offer this free appointment service.”

Open enrollment for coverage in 2016 began Nov. 1 and ends Jan. 31, 2016, but to obtain coverage starting in January, Alabamians need to apply by Dec. 15.

“It’s particularly critical for those currently enrolled in a plan to either go online and review their options or make an appointment with a specialist,” Blackmon said. “If individuals take no action, they will automatically be re-enrolled in the same plan (which could have different benefits or copayments); the worst case scenario is that they do nothing and lose coverage because the former plan is no longer being offered.”

In addition to receiving in-person assistance through 211, those needing coverage can either visit

www.enrollala.com to schedule their own appointment or go online at www.healthcare.gov and submit their own application.