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Health care providers are in the best seat ever to encourage their patients to sign up now for health care coverage through the federal marketplace at HealthCare.Gov. Open enrollment began Nov. 1 for health plans for next year. With more options, new savings, and more time to get enrolled, the outlook has never been better to add Texans to the coverage rolls. Those who already have insurance through the marketplace can also renew and update their plans during this time. The deadline to enroll is Dec. 15 for coverage that begins Jan. 1.

As you are well aware, we are about to mark nearly two years of life with a pandemic, and health care providers have built even more trust with their patients during this time. The people of Texas have experienced a renewed appreciation for the life-saving care that is provided on the frontlines. When times are tough, health care providers get tougher, and Texas health care providers have proven they have their patients’ best interest at heart at all times.

We are approaching the holiday season, a time when people reflect on their past year and look forward to the future and a new year. Among the list of to-dos for the new horizon is to secure health care. Your role on the frontlines is pivotal in encouraging action to get people the coverage they need.

If anything, the pandemic has underscored that health care matters. Affordable, high-quality coverage is a centerpiece to good health and a strong system of care to support the people of Texas. It seems as though Texas has seen it all over the course of the pandemic – short supplies, misinformation, multiple surges, and vaccine hesitancy amid the largest vaccine rollout in recent history. The time is now to move forward, promote coverage and get Texans covered. With all the cards in patients’ favor in terms of pricing and choice, there is no better time to urge coverage for patients in your care.

For patients who need coverage, there are robust plans available that cover doctor visits, prescriptions, mental health care, hospital stays, and other critical care. Not only does coverage help ensure access to medical care and a mechanism to bounce back from illness or injury, but it serves as a long-term investment in good health. Congress has reduced rates for this critical coverage, and most people who sign up for a plan will pay less than $10 a month. Further, Texans with lower incomes are now eligible for a comprehensive health plan with a $0/month premium and low or no deductible.

As we approach the new year, I encourage you to work with your patients to ensure they have the coverage they need. If there is any silver lining to be found amid the pandemic, it’s that patients are more mindful of their health – and health care – than ever before. There is no better time to guide your patients toward checking out their options through HealthCare.Gov.

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