Open Enrollment In Marketplace Starts Tuesday - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Open Enrollment In Marketplace Starts Tuesday

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On Tuesday, President Obama's sweeping health care reform, the Affordable Care Act, will begin open enrollment.

Midtown's San Jose Clinic is a final safety net for thousands of uninsured. Today it offers a range of medical plus dental care and an on site pharmacy. 

"It's been in Houston for 91 years, and it's really incredible because it's entirely supported by the community," said executive director Paule Ann Lewis.

For the first time they'll be referring qualified patients to the marketplace, where here in Houston they'll have a chance to choose from dozens of different insurance plans.  The lower the premium, the higher the out of pocket expense.

In Harris County there are an estimated 825,000 uninsured with about 600,000 qualifying to apply in the marketplace.

"I think there are so many hurdles.  Some people who have never purchased health insurance don't understand the various components," said Dr. Vivian Ho, a health economist at Rice University's Baker Institute. 

She says the law depends on both the sick and healthy signing up.

"If it's only the sick population, insurance companies have to cover medical costs and those premiums will be high, and it will cause insurance companies to raise prices in the future and that will discourage participation.  People won't be able to participate if it's too expensive."

Back at the clinic more than 50% of patients aren't expected to qualify because they don't make enough money or are undocumented.

Fox 26's Sally Macdonald:  "Do you expect your demand could go up?"

"I think it could go up. Resources will thin out, and I want people to know San Jose Clinic is here.  We've been here for 91 years and will continue to be here for individuals," said Lewis.

You can apply for coverage anytime between now and the end of March.  Visit for more information.


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