TOPEKA, Kan. – The deadline for the Affordable Care Act is fast approaching. If you don’t get health insurance by March 31, it’ll cost you.
By March 31, you need to be enrolled in some kind of health insurance.
Paige Ashley, the outreach and enrollment coordinator for the Shawnee County Health Agency (SCHA), says if you’re already covered, you’re exempt from having to enroll in the federal online health insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act.
According to HealthCare.gov, you’re considered covered if you have Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, any job-based plan, any plan you bought yourself, COBRA, retiree coverage, TRICARE, or VA health coverage.
But Kenny Yates, an SCHA outreach and employment specialist, says, “It’s best for most people to check in and we can tell them in depth after analyzing their circumstances whether they need a plan or not.”
If you need to enroll in the marketplace, you must sign up by March 15 for coverage to begin April 1, and March 31 for coverage to begin May 1.
If you’re not enrolled by March 31, you can only enroll under special circumstances such as loss of a job, divorce, or birth of a child.
The next enrollment period will not open until November 2015.
If you don’t enroll in time, you’ll face a penalty of $95 per adult and $47.50 per child or 1 percent of your income, whichever is greater. The penalty will show up on your 2015 income taxes.
The SCHA is holding open enrollment sessions every day leading up to the March 31 deadline to help residents enroll in the marketplace.
They have offices at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library that are open during all library hours, except on Tuesday. People can walk in for help at any time or call (785) 251-2000 for an appointment.
The SCHA holds open enrollment sessions at its offices located at 1615 SW 8th Ave. in Topeka every Tuesday from 4 to 6pm.
The service is free and Spanish language interpreters are available to help if needed.
For more information, call the Shawnee County Health Agency at (785) 251-2000 or visit HealthCare.gov.