March 17 2014
SITKA – Now is the time to apply for affordable health care coverage if you currently do not have health insurance. You may be eligible for lower cost insurance based on your income, age, and number of people in your family. The Affordable Care Act deadline for required insurance coverage is March 31, 2014. People have three choices: have or get health insurance, file an exemption form, or face a tax penalty in 2015.
Signing up is easy and there are many ways to get help. You may call the national line at 1-800-318- 2596, 24 hours/day, 7 days/week or go online at www.healthcare.gov. “People have been amazed with the affordable monthly rates they’ve received through the Marketplace” says Andrea Thomas, Outreach & Enrollment Manger for SEARHC.
Alaska did not accept federal Affordable Care Act money to expand Medicaid. If you are in the Medicaid gap – an individual that makes below $14,350 or a couple that makes below $19,380 – you will need to file a hardship exemption form, which can be found on www.healthcare.gov.
Alaska Native and American Indians have all of 2014 to file the Alaska Native/American Indian paper exemption form. This form is required for people that are ONLY covered by Indian Health Services and not any other type of insurance. SEARHC encourages all Alaska Native/American Indians to file this lifetime exemption even if they are covered by Medicaid or private insurance (but not if you have Medicare or VA benefits). The exemption forms can be picked up at all SEARHC clinics and also on the www.healthcare.gov website.
In Southeast Alaska there are people available to assist you to enroll or file exemptions. Call United Way in Juneau at 523-1147 or SEARHC at 966-8883.