Beginning Nov. 15, Greenbrier Valley Medical Center will help area residents learn about and enroll in health insurance options on the Health insurance Marketplace.
As part of the Affordable Care Act, most U.S. citizens are required to have health insurance beginning in 2014. During the first enrollment wave, which began last October and ended in March, nearly 10 million uninsured individuals enrolled in a Marketplace plan. Yet, approximately 30 million Americans remain uninsured.
“As a primary health provider in southern West Virginia we want to help educate residents in an easy-to-understand way, as well as assist those who haven’t yet signed up for health insurance or Medicaid, if qualified,” said Rob Calhoun, CEO of GVMC. “During the next few months, we’ll be going out in the community to educate consumers, hosting in-hospital events, and meeting one-on-one to help these individuals find affordable coverage for themselves and their family.”
The Health Insurance Marketplace provides U.S. citizens access to affordable health insurance coverage. Depending on household income, some individuals may qualify for financial assistance from the government – or subsidies – towards the cost of the premium.
All health plans on the Marketplace must offer a comprehensive set of benefits, and individuals cannot be denied coverage based on a pre-existing condition. Some of the health benefits include preventive care and wellness services, doctor visits, prescription drugs, hospital and emergency department care, lab services, pediatric services – and more.
If you can afford health insurance coverage in 2015, but don’t sign up, you may have to pay a penalty ($325 per adult, $162.50 per child – up to $975/family or 2 percent of family income, whichever is higher). And, without insurance, you will be financially responsible for all of your medical costs.
“This is where GVMC can help,” said Calhoun. “With many people in our community lacking access to a computer or having difficulty enrolling on the government’s website, our application counselors can help. We can assist individuals and their families evaluate the health plan options and determine if they are eligible for Medicaid or other financial assistance.”
In all states, Medicaid provides health coverage for some low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. In some states, the program covers all low-income adults below a certain income level.
West Virginia has chosen to expand Medicaid coverage. This expansion increases the eligibility limits for adults to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (equivalent to an annual income of $16,105/year for one person; $32,913 for a family of four in 2015). However, citizens must enroll in the program; it’s not automatic.
Though a major function of www.healthcare.gov is assessing whether individuals and families qualify for financial help to lower the cost of health insurance, GVMC’s application counselors can perform the same analysis and help with the sign-up process. To make an appointment to meet with an application counselor, call 304-647-4411.