Open enrollment to purchase healthcare insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace has officially kicked off. The open enrollment runs through Jan. 31, 2016. In order for coverage to start on Jan. 1, Floridians must sign up and pay for a plan by Dec. 15, 2015. Consumers who enroll in a health insurance plan by Jan. 15 will have their coverage begin on Feb. 1, 2016.
Broward Regional Health Planning Council (BRHPC) is leading the drive to alert Broward County residents that it is important for them to sign up by Jan. 31. Individuals and families, even if they have been denied insurance in the past, are encouraged to log onto www.brhpc.org or www.coveringflorida.org, or call 2-1-1 for help in the enrollment process and to learn about potential financial assistance.
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 get the word out and to make sure individuals and families sign up and get access to the medical coverage they need. Working with BRHPC and its partners, Broward residents will receive assistance enrolling and guidance in navigating the various health insurance plan options by certified Navigators.
During last year’s open enrollment period, more than 90 percent of Florida residents were eligible for some form of financial assistance made available through the Health Insurance Marketplace as a provision of the Affordable Care Act. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, as of June 30, 2015, there were more than 1.3 million people enrolled in Florida’s marketplace.
Timing is critical. The tax penalty for avoiding purchasing health insurance has doubled for 2016. The penalty for 2016 is 2.5 percent of income, or $695 per adult (whichever is greater) and the penalty for each child in the family without coverage will be up to $347.50. The government collects these penalties through tax refunds.
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