Deadline to purchase health insurance fast-approaching

By Nick Kovatch on March 2 at 8:02am

There is still time to purchase health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, but the clock is ticking.

Layna Miller is leading the charge to assist people purchase health insurance at the Morgan County Health Department. She says the online Marketplace is open until March 31st, which means you have to be signed up by then.

“That is the absolute end date for obtaining health coverage through the Marketplace,” says Miller. “Medicaid will still be able to be processed every month, but to find out if you’re eligible for a tax credit to purchase insurance through the federal marketplace – that ends March 31st.”

If you don’t have coverage by March 31st, you’ll pay a tax penalty next year of $95 or 1 percent of your income, whichever is higher. It jumps to $325 or 2 percent of your income the 2nd year, and $685 or 2.5 percent of your total income in the 3rd year.

Larry Whewell is associate director of the Jacksonville Area Center for Independent Living where certified staffers are assisting people with the ACA application process.

“Many people say ‘I’m not going to sign up because I can’t afford health insurance’ and with the Affordable Care Act no one knows what their health insurance is going to cost them until they fill out the application,” says Whewell. “It depends on their income, geographic area, tobacco use and number of people in the household. That determines how many taxing credits you’re going to receive to help pay your premiums.”

The exchange is for the 1.8 million Illinoisans who do not have health insurance.

Whewell says five staff members are certified to help people with the Affordable Care Act enrollment process at JACIL which covers Morgan, Cass, Scott and Mason Counties. Those wanting to set up appointments can call 245-8371. JACIL is located at 15 Permac Road.

Miller says Morgan County residents can call her at the health department at 245-5111 with questions or to set up an appointment with certified staffers.