The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local Business

October 1, 2013

Health Insurance Marketplace woes hinder enrollment

Affordable Care Act website kicks users off


“I don’t understand it,” Abner said.

Emily Thornburgh, 25, of Sulphur Springs, said she wanted to talk with someone to see if she was eligible for the program. During her screening with a certified assistant, Thornburgh discovered she qualified for another program being offered at the state level.

“I’ve never had insurance,” she said. “My insurance will be less than $20 a month.”

A nationwide survey by nonprofit Enroll America found that 78 percent of people who are eligible for free or low-cost health insurance don’t know they qualify for the programs, but once they learn about their options, 75 percent said they want in-person assistance.

Rinker said information from that survey is one of the reasons why Community Hospital decided to offer Marketplace enrollment assistance. Of the three insurance providers offering plans to residents of Madison County, only Anthem covers services provided by Community. This information is provided in a full disclosure to those receiving assistance.

By January 2014, everyone in the United States must have insurance. Rinker said the fine for those who do not have insurance is $95 or 1 percent of a person’s income – whichever is greater.

“The bad thing, though, is if you don’t sign up you have to pay a fine and still don’t have insurance,” she said.

Rinker explained that those at the 250 percent of the poverty level qualify for cost-sharing reductions to reduce their insurance costs, but they must sign up for a silver plan in order to receive the reduction. Sometimes people qualify for Medicaid and that is a free program, she said.

“People should come to find out what their options are and make an informed decision,” Rinker said.

Like Traci L. Moyer on Facebook and follow her @moyyer on Twitter, or call 648-4250

Enrollment Sessions Community Hospital Anderson's Education Center, 1923 N. Madison Ave., will hold free information sessions and enrollment on the following days and times: Tuesday, Oct. 15, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16, 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 26, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Those unable to attend the sessions can call 298-1775 and leave a message for a certified application counselor to return the call.

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