Friday, January 20, 2017 - 10:59am
Get it Done by January 31st – Help is Available
If you don’t have health insurance, you have until January 31 to enroll in coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare). For those signing up before the 31st, coverage will take effect March 1, 2017, and enrollees will avoid any penalties for being uninsured.
“Regardless of the news stories and discussions about the future of the Affordable Care Act, we still encourage all eligible residents to sign up for health insurance before the end of the month,” says Jami Crespo, Policy Analyst at Public Health Madison & Dane County.
While people can sign up for a health insurance plan at healthcare.gov at anytime, free help in finding a plan is available from certified Navigators housed at locations throughout Dane County. They can guide consumers through the process and help explain health coverage options to meet a family´s health needs and budgets.
After January 31, you can only buy an ACA health plan if you’ve gone through certain life events, including losing health coverage, moving, getting married, having a baby, or adopting a child.
Covering Wisconsin is the not-for-profit agency that offers free Navigator services for people looking to enroll in the Marketplace. Navigators provide free, confidential enrollment assistance along with information about tax credits and other help with premium payments. They are currently taking appointments at the Dane County Job Center, Public Health of Madison and Dane County, and at Centro Hispano. To schedule an appointment to meet with a Navigator, Madison and Dane County residents should call Covering Wisconsin at (608) 261-1455, or go online to www.coveringwi.org.
“There are many affordable plans available for people in Wisconsin,” said Adam VanSpankeren, the regional lead Navigator for Covering Wisconsin’s Madison office. “Most people enrolling in the Marketplace can find a plan with a premium of $80 or less. But the application process and looking at all the available plans can be intimidating. Navigators are here to help people make sense of their options to make the best choice for themselves and their families.”
Covering Wisconsin is also hosting a “last chance to enroll” event at Meadowridge Public Library on Saturday, January 28th. Navigators will be available to provide in-person enrollment assistance between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.
Anyone wishing to apply on their own or simply to explore their plan options can go to www.healthcare.gov, or call the Marketplace at 1-800-318-2596, 24 hours a day, seven days a week
REMEMBER: January 31, 2017 is the last day to enroll in or change a 2017 health plan. After this date, you can enroll or change plans only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
- Jeff Golden, (608) 243-0302, email@example.com