News & Announcements

Open Enrollment Period for 2018 Health Insurance is November 1 to December 15, 2017

Posted: September 11, 2017

Get ready to apply for health insurance coverage! Open enrollment for 2018 runs from November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017. This is a shorter enrollment period than in previous years. Open Enrollment is the yearly period when people can enroll in a health insurance plan

Over the pasts few years, SAMHSA’s Office of Behavioral Health Equity (OBHE) has developed materials to help uninsured individuals better understand what health insurance is, how to get it and how to use it. OBHE focused on reaching diverse racial and ethnic populations so some of the materials are in Spanish, French Creole, Chinese (Mandarin), Korean and Vietnamese. 

Please share these tools with your colleagues and community organizations  to ensure that uninsured racial and ethnic minority populations get support to enroll in public or commercial health insurance plans. 

You don’t have to wait until November 1 to start getting the information you need to make the right choice of an insurance plan. Here are some ways to get started:

  1. A Roadmap to Behavioral Health: A Guide to Using Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services 2017 (pdf). This is a companion guide to the Coverage to Care (C2C) Roadmap issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The C2C initiative explains what health insurance is, the steps to enroll in Medicaid or a commercial/private insurance plan, and how to get health care services. The behavioral health companion guide describes what behavioral health coverage involves and how to get treatment for mental and substance use conditions. Understanding health insurance can be a bit overwhelming and confusing at first; hopefully these “roadmaps” will reduce some confusion.
  2. The Basics of Health Insurance: This is a suite of videos discussing the basics of health insurance and how it works. These videos are geared to different populations groups:
    1. Video: Health Insurance: How Do I Get It, Pay for It and Use It? (30:45)  
      1.  Slide deck with speaker notes (PDF | 9 MB)
      2.  Video: Chinese (Mandarin) (25:43)
      3.  Video: French Creole (22:12)
      4.  Video: Korean (23:20)
      5.  Video: Spanish (26:00)
      6.  Video: Vietnamese (38:52)
  3. Challenges and Best Practices in Outreach and Enrollment. This is a suite of videos and power point slide-decks with strategies for outreaching and enrolling uninsured minority populations.
    1. Video: ACA Outreach & Enrollment in Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Communities: Promising Practices (47:13)
    2. Video: Affordable Care Act Outreach and Enrollment: Lessons Learned and Next Steps for Urban Indian Populations (49:58)
    3. Video: Persistent Barriers for Latino Enrollment Through the Affordable Care Act (51:20)
    4. Video: The ABC’s about the Impact of Literacy on Affordable Care Act Efforts in the Black Community (1:40:27)
  4. If you are an immigrant or refugee, there are some other things you need to know about eligibility.
    1. Video: What Immigrants and Refugees Need to Know about the Affordable Care Act (23:43)
    2. Slide deck (PDF | 7 MB)
    3. Slide deck with speaker notes (PDF | 6 MB)
    4. Video: Chinese (Mandarin) (19:14)
    5. Video: French Creole (18:42)
    6. Video: Korean (18:54)
    7. Video: Spanish (21:58)
    8. Video: Vietnamese (32:08)
  5. Understanding Medicaid and Behavioral Health
    1. Medicaid: The Basics

These materials have been developed and updated over the past three years. We hope these will be helpful in navigating the upcoming open enrollment period. For more information go to:

We are trending in the right direction. Let’s continue to reduce the number of uninsured people and give all communities the opportunity for good health, good behavioral health, and thriving healthy lives!

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