From Feeding America‘s blog

by Mariah Jones HicksCommunity Health and Nutrition Intern, Feeding America

Open Enrollment season is upon us starting November 1, and ending December 15, 2017. With continued changes to coverage options and outreach support, as well as a shortened Open Enrollment period this year, join Feeding America in informing, referring and enrolling neighbors who are under- or uninsured. All plans acquired during Open Enrollment will begin on January 1, 2018.

In partnership with Community CatalystFeeding America has been reviewing and distributing culturally competent outreach materials for our network of 200 food banks to utilize across the nation this Open Enrollment period. These materials are also publicly available and address a wide range of enrollment topics and target populations. You can also sign up through Community Catalyst to receive ongoing outreach and enrollment materials.

If you are seeking health coverage for you or your family, follow these five tips to make the application process quicker and easier:

  1. Review the Marketplace and find out if you are eligible
  2. Gather all necessary information to complete the application.
  3. Mark your calendar for December 15th – the last day to apply for the general Open Enrollment period (special exceptions apply for hurricane-affected areas and individuals experiencing qualifying life events)
  4. If you are already covered, review your current application and be sure to update any new information or changes from the last year
  5. Consider your needs and plan options before selecting a final plan

Free, local in-person application assistance can also be found in most communities. Learn more here!

Our mission at Feeding America is to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger. We know people experiencing food insecurity often are met with numerous challenges and difficult trade-offs to ensure basic needs are met, including the provision of nutritious food and necessary medical care.

In 2014, Feeding America released its sixth Hunger in America study. Key findings related to the intersection of food insecurity and health include:

  • 66% of households served by the Feeding America network report choosing between paying for food and medicine or medical care in the past year
  • 58% have at least one member with high blood pressure
  • 33% have at least one member with diabetes
  • 55% report having unpaid medical bills

The aim of quality, affordable health coverage is to help all Americans access the preventative and necessary care to effectively manage one’s health, and ultimately thrive. Together, we can provide key messaging and resources to communities across the country during this year’s shortened Open Enrollment period. Join us today or visit to learn more!

Mariah is a graduate student at the University of Chicago currently receiving her Master’s degree in Social Service Administration.