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Today in North Dakota, there are options for everyone to obtain health insurance coverage regardless of their income. No one plans to get sick or hurt, but most people need to get treated for an illness or injury at some point, and health insurance coverage helps protect you from the high cost of health care.

An estimated 32,000 uninsured North Dakotans could have health coverage as early as January if they sign up for Medicaid this month. Under an expansion approved by the state legislature in April, all qualifying low-income adults under age 65 may be eligible if their annual income is less than $15,856. For couples, the income limit is $21,404.

With Medicaid, more people will have the opportunity to get coverage, preventive services, and more support in case of accidents, illness or loss of insurance coverage through work.

For more information or to apply for the Medicaid expansion program, go to www.nd.gov/dhs/medicaidexpansion, or call 1-855-794-7308. County social service staff can also answer your questions and help you complete the application.

Remember, beginning in 2014, most Americans are required to have health insurance. If you do not qualify for Medicaid, there is a new way for you to research and buy health insurance through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. The Marketplace features private health insurance choices that will cover a basic set of essential health benefits. You can compare plans and also see what your premium, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs will be before you make a decision to enroll.

Open enrollment is under way now in the federal health insurance marketplace. Visit www.healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 to learn about health insurance options and tax credits that can help you pay for coverage.

Taking responsibility for your health care coverage means fewer worries. You will have access to preventive health services as well as the peace of mind knowing you have insurance coverage if you get sick or hurt. Instead of seeking routine care in an emergency room, you can receive quality, consistent care from health providers you know.

If you have questions about the health care law, find answers at www.HealthLawAnswers.org.

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