The deadline for enrollment is Jan. 31.
By Bismarck D. Andino
The office of student life and the health promotions office will present an open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 1 in the Fiesta Room of the Loftin Student Center.
The next event will be from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. Jan. 25 in the same location.
Ten counselors from CommuniCare, a full-service primary healthcare system whose mission is to improve health in the community, will assist students through the application process.
Last year 100 students were enrolled in health insurance through events at this college. Health promotions’ goal this year is to enroll as many people as possible, Mary Dayton, student success adviser, said Nov. 3 in a phone interview.
“We want to be able to offer the resources to students, staff, faculty, and the community regarding open enrollment and health insurance for 2017,” Dayton said.
She encourages students to sign up for an insurance plan before Jan. 31 to avoid the large fine the federal government mandates on an individual’s tax return if the deadline is not met.
Dayton referred to the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and signed by President Obama March 23, 2010.
The fee for 2016 has increased, a federal government website said. According to healthcare.gov, the penalty for 2015 was $325; this year is $695 for those with no insurance.
Although the deadline to enroll for health insurance is Jan. 31, people who don’t apply by the then, can apply for an extension if they have certain life events like getting married, having a baby, or losing other heath coverage, the website said.
Also, exemptions for health coverage are available for people with low income who experienced difficult circumstances such as being homeless, being a victim of domestic violence, or having medical expenses that they couldn’t pay for. Memberships in religious groups can be also exempted if the ministry is a tax-exempt organization that shares the costs of medical care for its members.
Dayton said the signing up process might be difficult to understand sometimes, but that the purpose of these events is to help students and the community to have a better understanding before they buy it.
“We would like to make it easy and stress-free for anyone who is looking to purchase health insurance,” she said.
Students participating in these events must have Social Security number ready, recent paystubs or the W-2 tax forms and current health insurance plan information, if applicable.
“They don’t have to have insurance already, but if they do it’s always good to use to compare it with the new plans they may be interested in,” Dayton said.
These events will be open to everyone. She encourages students to mark their calendar and to bring family and friends.
For more information, contact Dayton at 210-486-0127 or visit the health promotions office in Room D403 in the the community engagement annex Building 19.