24March

Help getting affordable health insurance



Over the past five months, I have had the pleasure of assisting individuals and families in signing up for health insurance. The deadline for enrolling in a health plan under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is around the corner on Monday, March 31, and open enrollment won’t be available again until Nov. 15. With such a short time left, it’s very important for people who need help with access to give me a call or to come in and see if you qualify for financial assistance to purchase a health plan.

UPDATE: According to The Washington Post and several other news organizations, "all consumers who have begun to apply for coverage on HealthCare.gov, but who do not finish by Monday [March 31], will have until about mid-April to ask for an extension."

We often hear stories about people who have lost insurance coverage because of the ACA. But there have been tremendous successes that haven’t been in the news. Many consumers I have assisted have received excellent tax credit subsidies to help them afford a plan. Here are some examples:

A young lady in her early 30s had no health insurance for 10 years. She never had a job that offered it. So she skated by on a hope and prayer that she never got sick or injured. Then she found out the ACA is based on income and wanted to see if she could get coverage. She didn’t think she would qualify, but she did. She had student loans to finish paying, and that helped qualify her.

Last week, I helped a young gentleman who just got married. He and his wife were self-employed and had individual plans that were high. They couldn’t afford them and needed to be careful the wife didn’t get pregnant, because the plan didn’t cover it. Now, they can get a plan that’s more affordable and can think about starting a family. They qualified for a new, better plan in terms of cost and benefits.

A man in 20s had a part-time job delivering pizza. He had no insurance. Now he receives health and dental for $73 per month.

So you see, health care is affordable for many. Not everyone qualifies, but you’ll never know if you don’t try.

The affordability factor is based off of income guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Consumers can go to Healthcare.gov and put “FPL” in the search box to see the threshold of qualifying income levels and types of income that qualify. If you already have health insurance through an employer, you don’t need to apply. You do, however, if that plan doesn’t cover your spouse or family.

It’s great to think we would never get sick or hurt, or that we will never need health insurance. But you can’t guarantee such a scenario. So people should protect themselves and their families, give themselves peace of mind and get covered. We get insurance for our houses, cars, electronic devices and so forth, but when it comes to protecting and insuring our bodies and health, that should be just as important if not more so.

For more information on enrolling or to make an appointment with Tammie, please call 770.677.9413.

Written by Tammie Peterson, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

About the Author

Tammie Peterson

Tammie Peterson

Tammie Peterson is JF&CS’ healthcare navigator. Her role is to answer consumers’ questions and help them make informed decisions about health insurance options on the federal online marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act. Most people must have health coverage by March 31, 2014, or pay a penalty.