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Legal Aid to Host Health Insurance Enroll-a-thon in Boone on Jan. 29

Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Morganton office is holding a free enroll-a-thon Jan. 29 in Boone to help consumers enroll in affordable health insurance through the Affordable Care Act before Jan. 31, the last day of the 2015-2016 open-enrollment period.

The enroll-a-thon will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Appalachian Enterprise Center on 130 Poplar Grove Connector.

At the event, consumers can meet with certified health care navigators who are trained to help consumers understand the details of the plans available on the Health Insurance Marketplace, determine eligibility for financial assistance, complete the enrollment process and more.

The event is free and open to the public. Walk-ins are welcome, but consumers can schedule appointments by calling North Carolina’s toll-free navigator hotline at 1-855-733-3711 or visiting the Get Covered Connector.

To enroll in a health insurance plan, consumers will need to provide certain information for everyone who will be covered by the plan. This information includes social security numbers and dates of birth; names, addresses and contact information of employers; policy numbers for current health insurance plans (if any) and proof of household income.

Consumers without health insurance at the end of open enrollment may be subject to a fine on their 2016 tax return. This year, the fine is increasing from $325 per person to $695 per person, or 2.5 percent of the consumer’s income, whichever is greater. Some consumers may be eligible to have the fine waived. Navigators can help eligible consumers apply for waivers.

The NC Navigator Consortium is a group of 14 health care, social service and legal aid organizations that helps North Carolina consumers enroll in affordable health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act. The consortium is led by Legal Aid of North Carolina, a statewide, nonprofit law firm that provides free civil legal aid to low-income North Carolinians. Members of the consortium are Access East, Capital Care Collaborative, Cape Fear HealthNet, Care Ring, Council on Aging of Buncombe County, Cumberland HealthNet, HealthCare Access, HealthNet Gaston, Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, MDC, Partnership for Community Care, Pisgah Legal Services and United Way of Greater Greensboro.