More plans, steeper penalties as healthcare enrollment deadline looms

Healthcare deadline looms as Hoosiers scramble to sign up amidst website troubles

The deadline to sign up for universal healthcare through the Affordable Care Act is looming and Hoosiers are trying to get enrolled by midnight.

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INDIANAPOLIS – If you want to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace, you have about 45 days left before the Feb. 15 deadline for 2015 coverage and this year Hoosiers will see some changes.

People who qualify will notice the amount of providers have increased from four to nine. Premiums have also slightly gone up, but there are more than 900 plans to choose from and some are offering extra coverage like dental and vision unlike the previous year.

“I’ve signed up people all the way for really, really cheap plans all the way up to you know the more expensive plans,” said Shamika Crowder, a certified enrollment specials or navigator at Covering Kids and Families off 38th street. “If you aren’t covered through your employer, if you’re working and you don`t have any health insurance, (the Marketplace) applies to you.”

She said she’s been helping about 10-15 people a day enroll into some kind of plan and often times people are surprised that they qualify and can afford healthcare.

“A lot of people they go into it you know with the negative mind-set but then once they see it at the end they’re very excited about it because they didn’t think that this was something they could afford.”

Another big change is a steeper penalty for declining coverage; it has more than tripled from $95 per person last year to $325 per person this year. Hoosiers who refused coverage in 2014, will report it to the IRS this year and pay the $95 fine.

Crowder said that is all the more reason to find out if you’re qualified.

“You never know what could happen. It’s just going to help you live a healthier better lifestyle.”

Covering Kids and Families will be holding extended hours on Wednesdays and Saturdays leading up to the enrollment deadline. You can visit a navigator from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information, call 317-221-3178.

You can also find help enrolling through Affiliated Service Providers of Indiana, Inc. (ASPIN) Health Navigator Program which will work with the Indiana Minority Health Coalition, Area Health Education Centers, IRHA, SBA, and the Indiana National Guard to provide outreach and enrollment events throughout the State.

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