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  • Affordable Care Act health insurance open enrollment begins Nov. 15

    Nov 12, 2014 | Read More News
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    Supervisor BronsonThe Pima County Health Department is working in collaboration with community partners to provide information and assistance to the public during the Affordable Care Act open enrollment period of Nov. 15 to Feb. 15. 

    Pima County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bronson, Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and representatives from the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona met with members of the public and media Wednesday to remind individuals and small business owners of the importance of enrolling for health coverage under the ACA.

    Arizona is one of several states using a new program that will help the public schedule appointments with one of the many organizations trained to assist with enrollment in a marketplace health plan. Additionally, there are enrollment events planned throughout the county during the open-enrollment period, beginning with four on Saturday. A calendar of those events and a link to make appointments for help can be found at www.coveraz.org.

    Persons currently enrolled for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace should review their policy before Dec. 15 to ensure uninterrupted coverage, because some providers are eliminating coverage or adjusted rates. If you do not want to change insurance plans and your plan is still available, it is not necessary to re-enroll. 

    United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona Senior Director Andrea Chiasson said Wednesday that it is especially important for county residents to realize that if they do not have health insurance and do not register for insurance through the Marketplace, they will incur a fine. 

    The United Way of Tucson anticipates an increase in the number of people needing help through its annual tax-preparer’s clinics when those people discover fines on this year’s tax bill because they lacked health insurance for more than three months in 2014.

    During the last ACA enrollment period in Arizona, the number of people who enrolled in either a Medicaid or Marketplace health plan totaled more than 300,000. Of that number, nearly 70,000 lived in Pima County. 
    Arizona premiums are among the lowest in the country. Last year, 77 percent of people who signed up for a health plan received financial assistance to help offset the cost of the premium.  

    “We are making headway in Pima County - the percentage of uninsured people for 2013 was 17 percent, after last year’s open enrollment the number of uninsured people dropped to 10 percent,” said Dr. Francisco Garcia, Director and Chief Medical Officer for the Pima County Health Department. 

    Some important things to be aware of this year:
    • Open enrollment begins Nov. 15 and ends Feb. 15. This is the only time you can sign up for health insurance through the federal marketplace.
    • There will be13 health plans to choose from this year. Be sure to go online and check because some are new and others are no longer providing insurance through the federal marketplace. Visit www.healthcare.gov for information.
    • Some of the insurance companies have changed their benefits and some may have changes to the premiums. Even if you are not planning on changing health plans, it’s a good idea to go online and see if there are any changes for the upcoming year.
    • For people who chose to not sign up last year, there will be a penalty fee that will show up when you file your taxes on or before April 15, 2015, and next year the penalty fee will be more.  
    Individuals who would like to volunteer to help people enroll for coverage under the ACA can volunteer through coveraz.org. Please visit www.pima.gov/aca for more information.