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Health Care Enrollment Deadline Nears: Ohio Navigators Standing By

More than 226,000 Ohioans have signed up for 2016 coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. (OAFB)
More than 226,000 Ohioans have signed up for 2016 coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. (OAFB)
January 25, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Health care groups in Ohio are getting the word out that there's less than one week to sign up for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

The deadline for enrollment is Sunday, Jan. 31, with coverage beginning March 1.

The Ohio Association of Foodbanks is an official navigator helping people around the state shop for different insurance options.

Zach Reat, the association's director of work support initiatives, says the group, along with other certified application counselors and brokers, is available to walk Ohioans through the application and explain eligibility and tax credits.

"And then they could help an individual select a plan and ensure that the individual's got the right provider network, drugs in the formulary, and that the individual understands how to use their insurance coverage," he points out.

More than 226,000 people in the state signed up for 2016 coverage by the end of December, exceeding the total for 2015.
While the deadline is at the end of the month, there is a special enrollment period available for those who experienced a qualifying life change, such as having a child, getting married, or losing health coverage from an employer.

For people concerned about their ability to pay a monthly premium, Reat says financial assistance is available. And he adds that more than eight in 10 Ohioans have qualified for the tax credit.

"Ohioans have accessed over $294 per month on average when it comes to that credit so it is significant for Ohioans and it is helping Ohioans afford insurance," he states.

Reat encourages folks to get covered because the penalty for not having insurance is going up substantially.

"In 2016, the fine for not having health insurance coverage for greater than three months will be $695 per adult, about half of that for each child, or 2.5 percent of the household's total income," he explains.

According to the 2015 Medicaid Assessment Survey, the number of uninsured Ohioans dropped to just under 9 percent, half the rate from before the state expanded Medicaid and the start of the Health Insurance Marketplace.


Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH