Time’s running out: last minute tips for healthcare enrollment

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – Time’s up! This weekend is the last chance to get health insurance on the Obamacare exchange for 2016. But, navigating through the many marketplaces can be tricky.

This weekend is the last chance to get health insurance on the Obamacare exchange, and the staff at BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York are busier than ever.
Jeff Lewis has worked in the Individual Projects department for 15 years. He said, “It’s the last day people can really enroll and come out for assistance at an enrollment site. We think it will be busy!”
But for the first time ever, 90 percent of Americans are covered. President Obama said health care reform, is working, but could work better. It’s important to know if you miss this deadline, you’ll likely have to wait another year to enroll. You’ll also pay a penalty when you file your federal income taxes,which could come out to almost $700 dollars.

Lewis said, “Some people don’t find out until tax time if they’re unaware of the penalty. Some people decide they can’t afford the coverage, so they go with the penalty.”
This year, the website has new tools, like a feature that helps you easily determine which of your doctors and prescriptions are covered by each plan. Lewis said, “People can try to personalize it a bit. By who their doctors are, what their medications are and what their income is, to see what plan might work best for them.”
Lewis had another tip: coverage is likely more affordable than you think. Eight out of ten people who sign up qualify for financial help. Lewis said, “It’s based on household size, and household annual income. The lower your income, the more assistance you get.”
But time is running out. Those who miss the deadline can sign up later for 2016 coverage only if they have a qualifying circumstance; like getting married, having a baby or losing a job.

For more information, you can visit the New York State of Health website here.

For help signing up, you can reach out to BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York at this website. 

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