The Houston Department of Health and Human Services (HDHHS) will extend weekday business hours at six of its multi-service centers the first two weeks in February, making it easier for uninsured people to get help signing up for a low-cost health plan by the Affordable Care Act’s nearing deadline.
The centers will also open extended hours Saturday, Feb. 7, and the weekend of Feb. 14-15 when the ACA’s second enrollment period comes to a close.
Trained advisors assigned to HDHHS multi-service centers are available to meet with uninsured residents one-on-one. Referred to as counselors and navigators, the advisors help residents who need to explore their insurance options or sign up for a health plan through the ACA’s Health Insurance Marketplace.
Multi-service centers across Houston opening from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. are:
Acres Homes MSC, 6719 W. Montgomery
Denver Harbor MSC, 6402 Market Street
Magnolia MSC, 7037 Capitol Street
Northeast MSC, 9720 Spaulding
Southwest MSC, 6400 High Star
Sunnyside MSC, 9314 Cullen
Uninsured people needing enrollment assistance can set up an appointment with an advisor by calling HDHHS’ ACA call center at 832-393-5423. Appointments are on a first come, first served basis; the last one is set for 7 p.m.
Documents needed to enroll during an appointment include:
Proof of U.S. citizenship: social security number or copy of U.S. passport for all family members
State residency: driver’s license, housing lease or utility bill
Income: W-2 forms or pay stubs; unemployment or disability; social security, pension and retirement income; or copy of latest tax return
Current health insurance: policy numbers for any current health insurance and information about job-related health insurance
Immigration status or legal residency: Immigration document status numbers.
People needing more information about the Marketplace or enrolling in a health plan can also get their questions answered by advisors at the call center. Houston-area residents have access to 71 insurance plans from which they may choose the coverage level that best fits their budget and health care needs.
Uninsured residents can sign up for a health plan online by visiting HealthCare.gov or CuidadoDeSalud.gov.
HDHHS serves as the lead agency for the Gulf Coast Health Insurance Marketplace Collaborative, a group of 18 non-profit agencies it brought together in 2013 to coordinate and facilitate enrollment in the Houston area.