One week left to enroll for health insurance

Rosemary Cabelo uses a computer at a public library to access the Affordable Health Care Act website, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
Rosemary Cabelo uses a computer at a public library to access the Affordable Health Care Act website, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

AUSTIN (KXAN) – People have exactly one week to enroll for either insurance under the Affordable Care act or private insurance.  Open enrollment ends on March 31 and people won’t be able to get so-called “Obamacare” until next year and will have to pay a fee.

“Most people will face some sort of penalty if they do not enroll and if you actually look at the trade off there in some cases, they would actually pay more in a penalty than just buying insurance and then they would be covered obviously,” said Dave Lamkin, the CEO of Sendero Health Plans.

Sendero Health Plans is a local nonprofit that qualifies under the Affordable Care Act.  People can choose the organization as their provider, which is affiliated with Central Health, the health care taxing district for Travis County.

The penalty is either 1 percent of a person’s yearly household income or $95 a person for the year.  Healthcare.gov says people will pay what ever amount is higher.

  • 1 percent of your yearly household income
  • $95 per person for the year and $47.50 for kids under 18 years old

“We found that many people don’t realize that the deadline is March 31 to enroll in health insurance,” said Elizabeth Colvin, director of Insure Central Texas three weeks ago. “They also don’t realize with the subsidies that are available, the cost of insurance can be less than what the penalty will be when they file their taxes next year.”

Insure Central Texas, which is part of Foundation Communities, was going to coffee shops, barber shops, nail salons, and tattoo parlors to spread to notice by word-of-mouth.

According to HealthCare.gov, if people don’t meet the deadline, they won’t be covered for the year and will have to wait to enroll in November and won’t be covered until 2015.

The government said people not only will have to pay for their own health care but will also have to pay a penalty if they don’t sign up for 2014 coverage.”

“For many people the penalty will be more than what they will pay for insurance,” said Colvin.  “They also don’t realize with the subsidies that are available the cost of insurance can be less than what the penalty will be when they file their taxes next year.”

The nonprofit said the process is confusing and is offering free help to help people enroll.  Insure Central Texas offers services in English and Spanish.  For more information times, head online.

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