The Health Insurance Marketplace third open-enrollment period kicks off today. Photo by www.healthcare.gov

The Health Insurance Marketplace third open-enrollment period kicks off today. Photo by www.healthcare.gov

A record-low number of Americans are uninsured. But 32 million still have no access to affordable health coverage.

That number will change, starting today.

The third round of the Health Insurance Marketplace open-enrollment period, brought forth by the Affordable Care Act, kicked off today and will run until Jan. 31. The first two rounds of open enrollment have helped more than 10 million people gain coverage through the Marketplace — while nearly 5 percent more Americans now have access to coverage that didn’t before.

Having health insurance protects your health for many reasons. According to the Urban Institute, uninsured people receive less medical care, have worse health outcomes and face greater financial burdens simply because they don’t have coverage.

“Everyone in America suffers when people are uninsured. More people die and get sick, more people can’t afford to pay for the care they need and our entire health care system spends more money as a result,” said APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD.

“The Health Insurance Marketplace is making better health and lower costs a reality on a population level. We are a healthier nation as a result, but the job isn’t complete until every single American has coverage and access to care.”

Check out a new supplement of the American Journal of Public Health addressing impacts of Affordable Care Act, including papers on achieving health equity, changes in health insurance coverage and the effect of Medicaid expansion.

More than 8 in 10 Americans could save an average of $610 per year in health care premiums by using the Marketplace, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Check out your options.

If you don’t have health insurance, you can use the Marketplace — found online at www.healthcare.gov — to gain coverage as soon as Jan. 1. You can get coverage in four ways: online, by phone, with in-person help or by mail.

Check out APHA’s health reform page to learn how the Affordable Care Act is making our nation healthier.