A new consumer guide being made available by Bill Sjulin of Town & County Insurance may help consumers who are worried about hitting the December 23 deadline for enrolling in health insurance that begins January 1, 2014. Despite the challenges experienced with the launch of healthcare.gov, President Obama has insisted there will be no delay of the "individual mandate" - the portion of the law that requires all Americans to purchase health insurance in 2014 or face additional taxes.

"Our new Consumer Guide to the Marketplace enables clients to navigate healthcare.gov and create an account while avoiding a lot of the common mistakes that can derail the process," Sjulin explained. "Once clients have used the guide to create their account, we can help them select and enroll in the plan that makes sense for them."

Healthcare.gov, also referred to as the Marketplace, is where consumers can go to purchase government-approved health insurance and learn if they are eligible for premium subsidies. The Marketplace launched on October 1, and the initial election period lasts through the end of March 2014. However, the Marketplace’s rocky launch prevented many people from establishing accounts, and many people have now quit trying.

Sjulin says that is unfortunate. "The Marketplace presents new opportunities to individuals and families. If you’ve been denied coverage before, that won’t happen again. The new law guarantees coverage," explained Sjulin. "If you couldn’t afford coverage before, you might qualify for subsidies to help pay your premiums now, and if you’re 26 and transitioning off your parent’s plan, there are options for you as well. That’s why we are making this Consumer Guide available now."

People who are interested in receiving the Consumer Guide to the Marketplace can contact Bill Sjulin at (515) 733-4315 or stop by Town & County Insurance in Story City.