Residents Can Receive Help to Sign-up for Healthcare in January

shutterstock_98521079-healthcare photo-smallIndividuals wanting to purchase health care coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace for 2016 have only until Jan. 31, 2016, to select a plan under the terms of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Signing up is quick and easy. Individuals and families, even if they have been denied insurance in the past, can log onto or, or call 2-1-1 for help in the enrollment process and to learn about potential financial assistance.

Timing is critical. The tax penalty for avoiding purchasing health insurance has doubled to 2.5 percent of income up to a maximum penalty equal to the national average premium for a Bronze plan – people could pay as much in penalty as if they had purchased health insurance, and they will still be uninsured.

The penalty for each child in the family without coverage will be up to $347.50. The government collects these penalties through tax refunds. For those who don’t pay the fee, the IRS will hold back the amount of the fee from future tax refunds.

Consumers who enroll in a health insurance plan by Jan. 15 will have their coverage begin on Feb. 1; those who enroll between Jan. 16 and Jan.31 can expect coverage to start March 1. According to the Health Insurance Marketplace, eight in 10 of the uninsured eligible for Marketplace coverage qualifies for savings that lower the cost of their monthly premiums.

“It’s important that our Broward residents be proactive in choosing their health insurance,” said Michael DeLucca, president and CEO of BRHPC. “We are nearing the end of enrollment, but there are options still available for everyone needing insurance. No one can predict the future. Having insurance can help minimize both the health risks and financial risks that come from unexpected health problems.”

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, from Nov. 1 through Dec. 26, 2015, more than 8.5 million consumers have signed up for health coverage through the platform or had their coverage automatically renewed. Of the 8.5 million, 1,556,561 are from Florida.

With the third enrollment season getting ready to end, the Broward Regional Health Planning Council (BRHPC) continues to reach out to Broward County residents to explain the health insurance options and help guide them through the enrollment process.

BRHPC has partnered with several local community-based organizations — 211-Broward, Hispanic Unity of Florida, Urban League of Broward County and Community Access Center — to help make sure individuals and families sign up and get access to the medical coverage they need.

Residents who utilize BRHPC and its partners need to bring the following documentation with them to their appointment:

  • Email Address (an account can be set up at the appointment)
  • Social Security number
  • Annual Income
  • Naturalization or Immigration Documentation

To learn how to enroll, or for more information, call 2-1-1, email [email protected] or log onto or

This information was provided by the Broward Regional Health Planning Council.

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