Get Covered, students! Navigate the Affordable Care Act.

If you are a student balancing education, work and maybe even kids, health insurance may be last of your worries.

Your health matters! If you have never had health insurance before, or you are unable to stay on your parent’s policy, you owe it to yourself to learn more about the affordable, quality health care coverage available on

Whether you suffer from stress, anxiety, sleeplessness and depression, or always get sick right around finals, a qualified health plan can connect you with mental health care, primary care and preventive screenings.

There are many policies to chose from. With subsidies, some can cost only a few dollars per month. If you’re short on time, a health insurance navigator can help you with the Health Insurance Marketplace (AKA FOR FREE.

Open Enrollment for ended Jan. 15, 2023 but you still may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. 

Sign Up for Affordable Care Act Info

Get information and news about Open Enrollment and the Affordable Care Act from the expert Health Insurance Navigators at Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy.

Connect with a Navigator!

Questions about health insurance? Health insurance navigators are ready to help.

To schedule an appointment, call 980-256-3782 or visit

Latest News About the Affordable Care Act:

    Open Enrollment Period FAQs

    When is Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace?

    Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace ( happens between November 1, 2023 and January 16, 2024.

    Is there still a penalty for not having health insurance?

    Effective January 1, 2019, there is no longer a penalty for not having health insurance.

    Which health insurance companies will be offering plans in 2024 in Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, and Union counties?

    The plans offered for Mecklenburg County are Aetna, Ambetter, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, United Healthcare, and Wellcare. The plans offered for Cabarrus County and Union County are Aetna, Ambetter, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, and Wellcare.

    I already have coverage. How can I get ready to apply for 2024 Marketplace health coverage?

    If you already have a account, make sure you are able to log in. If your household size or income has changed, gather supporting documentation such as tax returns from last year or recent pay stubs. You may be required to provide copies of these documents to the Marketplace. Please note plans have changed! You can schedule a free appointment with a Navigator to discuss your options and make sure you are enrolled in the best plan for you and your family.

    What happens if I don’t sign up?

    If you can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it, you may face high out of pocket costs if you have a medical emergency or need to visit a doctor. Use the window-shopping tool on to take a look at the plans offered in your area; financial assistance may be available for you and your family. Your premium may be less than you think!

    Can I just wait and have my current plan automatically renewed?

    Even if you’re happy with your plan and you don’t have any life changes to report (like moving to a new state or changes in your income or household), you should still go back through the application and make sure all your information is up to date to ensure that you are receiving all the financial assistance you are eligible for. You can also take a look at the health plans being offered in your area. You might benefit from a change, and you never know until you compare. You can do this yourself by logging into your account, by calling the Marketplace directly at 1-800-318-2596. You can also make an appointment with a navigator to go over your options, so call today!

    When is my coverage going to start if I enroll or update my application after December 15, 2023?

    If you enroll in a plan or update your application after December 15, 2023, your new coverage will start on February 1, 2024.

    I was able to enroll in a Marketplace plan in 2021 because I received unemployment benefits in 2021, even when I had no other income. Is that option available in 2024?

    If you are not projecting any income in 2024, you may not be eligible for Marketplace subsidies. However, you are encouraged to update your Marketplace application and review your options.

    I no longer have coverage or lost my coverage during 2023, what are my options?

    Even if you lost coverage this year, you may still qualify for financial assistance and can enroll in an affordable health plan for next year. You can log back into your Marketplace account, call the Marketplace, or meet with a navigator to start a new application for 2024.

    I am eligible for health benefits at work but want to see if I can get a better deal on the Marketplace. Can I do that? 

    Yes, you can always shop for coverage on the, assuming you meet other eligibility requirements. However, if you have access to affordable job-based coverage through your employer or your spouse’s employer, you may not qualify for financial assistance in the Marketplace. It is important to have information about your offer of employer coverage when you complete a Marketplace application.

    I have COBRA but it’s too expensive. Can I drop it during Open Enrollment and enroll in a Marketplace plan instead?

    During Open Enrollment, you can sign up for a Marketplace plan even if you already have COBRA. You will have to drop your COBRA coverage effective on the date your new Marketplace plan coverage begins. After Open Enrollment ends, however, if you voluntarily drop your COBRA coverage or stop paying premiums, you will not be eligible for a special enrollment opportunity and will have to wait until the next Open Enrollment period. Only exhaustion of your COBRA coverage triggers a special enrollment opportunity.

    How can I find out if my doctor and/or prescription medication is in a health plan’s network? 

    Each plan sold on provides a link to its health provider directory and prescription drug formulary, so consumers can find out if their health providers and medications are included.

    I am currently not working. Although I currently do not have income, should I still review my healthcare options for 2024?

    YES! Although you are not currently working, the Marketplace application asks for information about your anticipated income for the following year. Therefore, you can estimate your potential income for 2024 even if you are not working right now. You can always update your income on the Marketplace application. Navigators can walk you through your options. Schedule a free appointment, in person or virtually, by calling 980-256-3782 or going online to

    What if I need help?

    Navigators are available in your area and taking appointments, but we anticipate that appointments will fill up quickly! As always, appointments are free and available at convenient times. Appointments are available at over 20 convenient locations, including our office. Walk-in times are also available at our office Wednesdays 5:30pm-8:30pm and Saturdays 9:00am-3:00pm. Call 980-256-3782 or go online to to schedule an appointment today.

    Helpful Links

    MedLink of Mecklenburg
    Free and low-cost clinics for low-income, uninsured individuals Plans & Prices Tool
    Preview your estimated plans and prices

    Income Estimator
    A list of acceptable income sources and how to estimate your expected income

    Free prescription medication for low-income, uninsured individuals

    Coverage Resources for Immigrants

    Healthcare resources are available no matter what your status may be. If you are eligible for financial assistance on the Health Insurance Marketplace, appointments are available in Spanish with CCLA’s Healthcare Navigators. (When you make an appointment, just select “Spanish” as your language of choice.) Free interpretation is available in 150 languages as well.

    Watch the video below to learn the rules on health care coverage for immigrants, and keep scrolling for more!

    Below, you’ll see more detailed information based your particular situation:

    Undocumented Immigrants or DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival)

    Lawfully Present Immigrant (Permanent resident less than five years, or TPS, VAWA, U Visa, applicants for Asylum, SIJS, F1 visa and many others)

    • You may qualify for financial assistance on the Health Insurance Marketplace even if your household income is below: $12,880 for a family or one or $26,500 for a family of four.
    • Medicaid has not been expanded in North Carolina, so it currently only covers low-income people in the following categories: children under 21, pregnant women, women with breast or cervical cancer, individuals aged 65 or older, blind or disabled individuals, people in need of long-term care or people receiving Medicare.

    Refugee, Asylee, Cuban/Haitian Entrant, T visa or Permanent Resident for More Than Five Years

    • You may qualify for financial assistance on the Health Insurance Marketplace if your household income is between $12,880 – $51,520 for a family of one or $26,500 – $106,000 for a family of four.
    • Medicaid has not been expanded in North Carolina, so it currently only covers low-income people in the following categories: children under 21, pregnant women, women with breast or cervical cancer, individuals aged 65 or older, blind or disabled individuals, people in need of long-term care or people receiving Medicare.

    The project described was supported by Funding Opportunity number NAVCA210405-03-00 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The contents provided are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of HHS or any of its agencies.