This story originally appeared on KERA News.
About 1 million Texans have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act since enrollment efforts began in 2013. That might sound like a lot, but Texas still has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country.
On Sunday, the third round of open enrollment begins on healthcare.gov and community organizations and hospitals are preparing for questions from Texans trying to get health insurance.
Sharon Phillips, executive vice president at Parkland Health & Hospital System, says last year Parkland helped thousands of patients enroll.
“We have heard it might be harder to enroll as many people this year from prior years, but our experience so far is people are already reaching out to us,” Phillips says.
Harder, perhaps, because the people most in need have already signed up. That said, this year the financial penalties for not having health insurance will go up – to $695 per adult or 2.5 percent of household income, whichever is greater.
Some people are exempt, depending on income levels or other life events.
To help North Texans navigate the insurance landscape, Parkland has 11 certified application counselors at the old building on Harry Hines. People can also call 214-590-4900 for assistance in Spanish and English.
The enrollment period runs from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31, 2016.