A Life-Giving Reminder: Enroll Now for 2016 Health Care Coverage

One of the main reasons that the mortality rate for African Americans remains disparately high for heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes is because we too often delay going to the doctor for symptoms or regular checkups. By the time we go, the health condition is sometimes worse.

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Dr. Louis Sullivan, former U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services and founder of the Morehouse School of Medicine, knows the negative health habits of many African Americans. He says sometimes we don’t go to the doctor because of fear, procrastination, financial problems or just hoping the symptoms will go away.

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Well, no more excuses. We now have another opportunity to sign up for health care coverage under the  Affordable Care Act (ACA). If you’ve missed the sign-up in previous years, open enrollment for 2016 ends Jan. 31, 2016. For coverage to start Jan. 1, 2016, you must enroll by Dec. 15, 2015. If you purchase a plan after Dec. 15, your insurance will become effective Feb. 1.

Under the ACA, multiple plans are available for people on fixed incomes and even plans for people with no income. Since President Obama signed it into law on March 23, 2010, the ACA, which some call Obamacare, has provided coverage for more than 16.4 million people. But there are millions of others who could have otherwise been denied or faced discrimination now have access to coverage, according to the White House.

So take heed to this life-giving reminder. To start your application, hear about plans or just ask a question, call 800-318-2596, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, except Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day.

You can also enroll online at HealthCare.gov. Or follow social media for more information at HealthCare.gov on Facebook and @healthcaregov on Twitter. So start now on the road to the health care we all need. And pass it along!

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AARP helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities , strengthens communities, and fights for and equips Americans 50 and older to live their best lives. Discover all the ways AARP can help you, your family and your community at AARP Black Community , and connect with us on Facebook  and  Twitter .

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