• Family health care, 
including diagnosis 
and treatment of major 
and minor illness
    Family health care, including diagnosis and treatment of major and minor illness
  • Family health care, 
including diagnosis 
and treatment of major 
and minor illness
    Family health care, including diagnosis and treatment of major and minor illness

Need health insurance? Open Enrollment ends this weekend

February 11th, 2015

If there is one date to circle on your calendar this year, the deadline for open enrollment to acquire health insurance for 2015 through the Marketplace is Sunday, Feb. 15.

 

Each year, the Affordable Care Act requires that Americans either maintain or acquire health insurance. Insurance can be any offered by an employer, Medicare/Medicaid, or individually purchased coverage. Open enrollment started in October, and extends until February, so that Americans may purchase new insurance, or change or renew their current coverage.

 

But time is running out. If you don’t have health insurance through 2015, you will have to pay a tax penalty when you file before April 2016.

 

The fee for each uninsured adult in a household in 2015 due at tax time will is $325 per adult and $162.50 per child in a household, or two percent of the household income (whichever is larger). For 2016, those fees will rise to 2.5 percent of the household income, or $695 per person (again, whichever is larger).

 

But purchasing insurance through the Marketplace allows many people to apply for a tax credit, which helps reduce the cost of premiums and/or out-of-pocket medical costs. Sun Life Marketplace Navigator Maria Villalobos says that up to 80 percent of Americans who have applied have received that tax credit.

 

But still, many Americans think they’ll take the risk and just pay the penalties. But according to Ms. Villalobos, the benefits of having insurance outweigh the general costs of purchasing it, should something occur.

 

“Denial doesn’t mean you’re not sick or can’t get hurt,” said Sun Life Marketplace Navigator Maria Villalobos.

 

For one, the Affordable Care Act has prevented any screening or prejudice against those with pre-existing conditions. Those people can now get insurance and count on ongoing, regular care to manage their conditions, and perhaps improve them, rather than waiting until a dire health situation occurs and depending on expensive emergency room or urgent care visits. Another great benefit, she said, is that if something unexpected and catastrophic occurs that results in major surgery or other emergency medical services, there is a cap on how much you will be charged.

 

“You won’t end up thousands of dollars in debt, because you won’t be responsible for paying for the full amount of a hospital stay, or other medical expenses,” Ms. Villalobos added. “With insurance, you simply need to pay up to an agreed amount, called your deductible, and your insurance company takes care of the rest.”

 

If you’re confused about how to shop for insurance, or need help understanding the Marketplace system, there are some great resources available. Marketplace assistors are available 24/7 by phone at (800) 318-2596 for any questions you may have.

 

There are also people trained nationwide to help Americans get their information together and learn how to apply. To find a navigator or other application assistance anywhere across the country, you can visit www.enrollamerica.org, or visit www.coveraz.org for resources solely in Arizona.

 

Purchasing your insurance by Feb. 15 ensures that your insurance coverage will begin by March 1 of this year. But don’t wait until the last minute. Get covered today!

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