By Nathan Ham
If you have ever had questions or concerns about signing up for the right health insurance plan through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace, now is the time to put those concerns to rest. Alex Noriega at High Country Community Health in Boone is here to help.
“We don’t pressure people to sign up for anything. We’re not brokers, so we’re not making a commission or anything. We are certified application counselors here to help people,” said Noriega.
Each year, uninsured individuals visit the online health insurance marketplace to look at the numerous plans available and choose the one that best fits their needs. However, many times it is much easier and cheaper if you use the free help offered by these certified counselors to make sure you are getting the coverage you want.
“It’s through the marketplace where people can sign up for their health insurance and apply for a tax credit based on household income and household size,” said Noriega. “Once we finish the application, it is a real-time process so they are able to immediately see the plans offered to them through the marketplace. I highly recommend people come in and look at all the options being offered, you never know if you might be able to save some money.”
Right now, Blue Cross and Blue Shield is still the only company offering coverage in North Carolina. However, there are at least five different plans available for everyone and additional plans available for younger people who may just want to sign up for a catastrophic health insurance plan for high medical costs in the event of sudden illness or accident.
College students are required to have insurance and Noriega says that many do not realize that they are eligible to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace.
“Sometimes the plans offered through their schools end up being more expensive than what is offered through the marketplace. I have helped several students to meet these health insurance requirements,” she said.
Noriega also wants to remind young people that even if you are healthy right now, you never know when something could change your life and you might really need healthcare coverage.
“I understand the thought behind not keeping health insurance, especially with the younger population. They’re healthy and think they don’t need it, but you can’t foresee an accident that could leave you with such high medical debt. We just encourage people to come in and see what their options are,” she added. “We’re just happy that this is still around and it’s a good thing for people to have access to health insurance coverage.”
December 15 is the final day to enroll in health insurance through the marketplace unless there is a life-changing event that requires a special enrollment period, such as changing or loss of job, marriage, or even a simple change in income could allow you a special enrollment period.
To schedule an appointment, call 828-773-7297 or go by the High Country Community Health office located at 108 Doctors Drive in Boone.