Deadlines for health insurance enrollment are looming and individuals could face tax penalties for not having coverage.
People have one more week to enroll for coverage to begin on the New Year.
“Individuals have until December 23rd to get enrolled in health insurance that will take effect on January 1st,” says Tyann Boling, Enroll Alaska’s chief operating officer.
There is a penalty for individuals who can afford health insurance but don’t get coverage.
“If you don’t have health insurance in 2014, you can face a tax penalty of $95 per individual, and that tax penalty goes up,” explains Boling. “It has an escalation over the next three years.”
The last day for open enrollment is March 31st, but Boling says not to wait that long to enroll, “I think that March 31st is going to be a pretty hectic day. I would encourage people to reach out and get enrolled anytime between now and the end of March to make sure that they avoid the tax penalty and that they get health insurance that’s right for them and their family.”
According to Boling, Enroll Alaska agents are signing up more and more people for health insurance.
“Our numbers are going up,” she says. “We’re getting closer to hoping that our average will be 50 a day. And then my ultimate goal is to have 200 lives a day because we have the demand, the need for it.”
Juneau’s Enroll Alaska agent Mike Clark has hours at Bartlett Regional Hospital every week, Tuesday through Thursday, 1 to 5 p.m. He says he’s only seeing one or two people each day and hopes more people will make appointments. Clark says the healthcare.gov website is improving, “not perfect, but better. It drops frequently for maintenance or they say the website is busy now and you can give them your email and they will notify you when it’s available. It still gets overloaded.”
Juneau’s United Way navigator Crystal Bourland is also available to enroll people for health insurance.
After March 31st, people cannot enroll for health insurance until the following open enrollment period which begins November 15, 2014.