Less Than Week Left To Enroll in Health Insurance Marketplace & Avoid Fine

Published Monday, January 25, 2016 at 2:57 pm

Jan. 31 is the final deadline for North Carolinians to enroll in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace during the third Affordable Care Act open-enrollment period. With just six days left, the clock is ticking and North Carolinians should act now to make sure they have time to shop around, consider their options, and enroll in the plan that best fits their needs and budget.

The North Carolina Navigator Consortium and Enroll America are urging North Carolinians to check out Affordable Care plans, which cover what they need and meet their budgets so they can have peace of mind knowing that in an event of medical emergencies they would be covered.

“The Affordable Care Act insurance continues to help many North Carolinians,” said Jennifer Simmons, North Carolina Navigator Consortium Director. “We have talked to consumers who have undergone life-saving surgeries using their coverage. The marketplace plans are affordable and meet consumers’ budgets. We encourage uninsured North Carolinians to check out their options before the January 31 deadline so they can get covered.”

“So far, more than 569,000 North Carolinians have signed up for coverage during this open enrollment period – but there are still many who stand to benefit and need to take action before January 31,” said Get Covered America North Carolina State Director Sorien Schmidt. “Last year, we saw an unprecedented surge of interest leading up to the final deadline, and we expect to see the same this year as we approach the end of the month. That’s why we are encouraging people to start the process now to make sure there’s plenty of time from them to find the best plan for their family.”

To help North Carolinians learn about their options, there is free, in-person enrollment help available in communities across the state. Consumers can sit down face-to-face with unbiased local experts who can answer questions and help them make the best coverage decision for them and their families. They can also help people change plans if they are already insured through the Affordable Care Act and want to explore the new options available to them this year. North Carolinians can find someone near them by calling 1-855-733-3711 or using the Get Covered Connector tool atwww.getcoveredamerica.org/connector.

During this open enrollment period, there are new plans and new prices available on the Health Insurance Marketplace, so North Carolinians should shop the options available to them. All Marketplace health plans are required to cover the basics – from preventive care, emergency services, prescriptions, and more. And quality protection comes at an affordable price for most North Carolinians, thanks to the financial assistance available to lower the cost of plans. In fact nearly 9 in 10 of the North Carolinians who have signed up so far are receiving financial help.

Those who don’t have health insurance in 2016 may face a fine of $695 or 2.5% of their income – whichever is greater. And that’s on top of having to pay out of pocket for routine medical care and unexpected emergencies. North Carolinians shouldn’t delay and risk paying the fine and high medical bills when they can have quality, affordable health insurance that will cover the essentials and protect them from the unexpected.

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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 EastCapital Care CollaborativeCape Fear HealthNetCare RingCouncil on Aging of Buncombe CountyCumberland HealthNetHealthCare AccessHealthNet GastonLegal Services of Southern PiedmontMDC,Partnership for Community CarePisgah Legal Services and United Way of Greater Greensboro.

Enroll America is the nation’s leading health care enrollment coalition. An independent nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, Enroll America works with more than 6,700 partners in all 50 states to create cutting-edge tools, analyze data, inform policy, and share best practices in service of its mission: maximizing the number of Americans who enroll in and retain health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

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