Fort Lauderdale – Time is running out for thousands of Broward County residents who may not have health care insurance. Open enrollment to sign up and select a health plan under the Affordable Healthcare Act ends on February 15, 2015.
Broward Regional Health Planning Council (BRHPC) is leading the drive to alert residents that it is important for them to sign up by January 15 in order to start coverage by February 1st. Individuals and families, even if they have been denied insurance in the past, are encouraged to log onto www.brhpc.org or call 2-1-1- for help in the enrollment process and to learn about potential financial assistance.
BRHPC has partnered with several local community-based organizations: 211-Broward, Hispanic Unity of Florida, Urban League of Broward County, and Community Access Centers to help get the word out.
“Most people do not realize that they must sign up for insurance,” said Michael DeLucca, President and CEO, BRHPC. “We want to help the community learn more about the Marketplace and how easy it is to get health coverage.” When individuals enroll, they first check to see if they qualify for financial help, and then they select a plan that fits their budget and needs. It’s a simple process.
The following items must be brought to the appointment to enroll:
- Email Address (an account can be set up at the appointment)
- Social Security number
- Annual Income
- Naturalization or Immigration documentation
Timing is critical because uninsured people will receive penalties. A person who does not have coverage in 2015 will be fined 2% of the household’s yearly income or $325 per person for the year ($162.50 per child under 1), whichever is higher. By 2016, the average fine will be about $1,100, based on government figures.
“Many people are still uninsured because they think coverage is not affordable. They do not know about the financial assistance available to them,” said Gursimran Reen, Program Manager, BRHPC for the ACA Program. Subsidies are available to most uninsured Americans with incomes between 133 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, that converts to an annual household income between $23,850 and $95,400.