RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- It's the annual holiday season tradition that could actually bring the biggest saving to American families.
"North Carolinians have a tremendous opportunity to sign up for health insurance for themselves and their family at a more affordable price and sometimes for free," Gov. Roy Cooper said at a news conference on Wednesday. "I urge people who don't have coverage to investigate their options and learn about these plans."
The marketplace, set up by the Affordable Care Act, is sometimes referred to as "ObamaCare," and it has been popular among North Carolinians in recent years.
For 2022, North Carolinians will have access to even more insurer plans and cost savings, and that might be a healthy antidote to the estimated 257,000 people who have lost their coverage after losing their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Health insurance coverage and high-quality health care are critical to a person's overall health and well-being," NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen added. "We urge North Carolinas to act before the Dec. 15 deadline to take advantage of health insurance at an even more affordable price for them and their families."
According to state government officials, The American Rescue Plan, signed by President Joe Biden in March, will enable hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians to attain additional subsidies and tax credits for those purchasing their own insurance through the Marketplace.
More than 530,000 North Carolinians bought a policy on the exchange in 2021 -- the most since 2017.
Brian Burnett, a small business owner in Glenwood South, has previously used the exchange and is encouraging his employees to do the same -- even if they're overwhelmed by the process.
"I was in my early 20s once. You're not invincible," he told ABC11.
The NC Navigator Consortium provides federally qualified health insurance navigators to guide consumers through the complexities of the sign-up process and maximize their coverage. Appointments may be scheduled online at ncnavigator.net or by calling (855) 733-3711.