Upon hearing the word “insurance,” many people shut down. Well, it’s important to know that if you aren’t insured by Feb. 15, it will cost you hundreds of dollars. Do we have your attention now?
This year, under the Affordable Care Act, penalties for adults without insurance climb significantly – from $95 or 1 percent of income to $325 or 2 percent of income, whichever is higher.
Heart of Florida United Way is partnering with the Primary Care Access Network (PCAN) to make it easier for Central Floridians to sign up for health insurance and avoid the fee. By using United Way’s 2-1-1 hotline, consumers can schedule a free, in-person meeting with one of PCAN’s experienced navigators, who will guide them through the health insurance marketplace to enroll in plans before the Feb. 15 deadline.
“It’s as simple as picking up the phone and dialing 2-1-1 to quickly and easily set up a meeting at a time and place that is convenient for both parties,” said Caree Jewell, director of 2-1-1 at Heart of Florida United Way. “Working with a navigator to make an informed decision on health insurance can make a tremendous impact on the cost you pay each year.”
Navigators are trained to provide unbiased information to educate and assist consumers in identifying the best possible health insurance plans to meet their needs. “Too often people just pick the first – or cheapest – plan that pops up and don’t take the time to explore all of the options available to them,” said Anne Packham, marketplace exchange project coordinator at PCAN. “Even when consumers do dig deeper and evaluate their options, they often don’t know the questions to ask to identify the best possible plan, which is why it’s so important for people to meet with someone who has comprehensive knowledge about the health insurance marketplace.”
Even those who previously enrolled in coverage may benefit from this service because there are new plans – some with lower prices – available this year. In addition, navigators can also check to see if consumers qualify for a premium tax credit, which can drastically reduce the cost of insurance.