A recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation found there is a 9.2 percent drop in Obamacare – also known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – enrollment this year, prompting officials in Houston to initiate the billboard campaign to make people aware of enrollment and the deadline. The Kaiser report noted that nearly 60 percent of Americans who would benefit from ACA enrollment were unaware of the deadline for open enrollment.

Reductions to the federal ACA advertising budget combined with a shortened sign-up period have been cited as significant factors contributing to the decline in enrollment, underscoring the need for local public service campaigns.

“Harris County has some of the highest uninsured rates in the country and those who lack insurance coverage typically enjoy far worse health status than their insured counterparts,” Commissioner Ellis said. “This billboard campaign serves a critical need in our community by letting people know that affordable health care is available through Obamacare, but you need to sign up as soon as possible. Your health is too important.”

Stephen L. Williams, director of Houston Health Department, said Enroll Gulf Coast has many agencies around the county ready to assist people for free and in person with their marketplace applications.

“I have one major message and that is: Enroll Gulf Coast is here to help,” Williams said.  “Partners are standing ready to help you sign up for the first time or to guide you through the renewal process. Our partners have devoted counselors who can help you in any language that you prefer.”

Clear Channel Outdoor donated 13 billboards – in English and Spanish – to the Urban League.

“The public service outdoor advertising campaign in English and Spanish that began the week of November 12 will have created more than 10 million market impressions through December 15.  We hope that this message will remind people action is required for this important health option,” said Lee Vela, vice president for public affairs at Clear Channel Outdoor-Houston.

Texas leads the nation in uninsured rates with over 4.5 million people uninsured, including over 800,000 children, according to a recent report from Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families. With the highest uninsured rate of any Texas county, Harris County is at the epicenter of the health care coverage crisis.

“It is critically important that people are reminded to sign up for ACA coverage and know that free, local enrollment assistance is available from Enroll Gulf Coast,” Commissioner Ellis said. “There is nothing more important than our family and friends. Encourage your loved ones to go to healthcare.gov to sign up before December 15 or contact Enroll Gulf Coast.”

People in need of enrollment assistance can call Enroll Gulf Coast at 832-393-5423  or visit enrollgulfcoast.com People can also directly sign up for Obamacare by visiting healthcare.gov or calling 1-800-318-2596.