CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The open enrollment period on West Virginia’s insurance exchange comes to a close Friday and numbers are showing thousands of state residents have not yet selected plans for the coverage year the begins Jan. 1.

At the start of this final week for enrollment, information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicated fewer than 14,000 state residents had completed enrollments on healthcare.gov — 13,257 as of Dec. 9.

Last year, about 34,000 West Virginians enrolled for health insurance plan during an enrollment period that ran through Jan. 31 and most of those enrollees qualified for subsidies to help with premium costs.

This year, the enrollment period is six weeks shorter and funding for outreach educations efforts was cut dramatically.

After Friday’s deadline passes, enrollment is only allowed for special circumstances, like marriages or births.

As of this writing, health insurance is still a requirement under the Affordable Care Act and those who do not have health insurance in 2018 will be penalized.

On Thursday, the tax reform bill taking shape on Capitol Hill reportedly included the repeal of that ACA mandate, though the take effect date was unclear. The legislation had not passed.

Help with insurance enrollment from certified health insurance navigators is available through the WV NaviCare helpline at 1-844-WV-CARES or 304-356-5834. Find the WV NaviCare website HERE.

Other assistance locations in a list from West Virginians for Affordable Health Care can be viewed HERE.

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