Last-minute Colorado Springs health insurance shoppers rush to beat deadline – Colorado Springs Gazette
A surge of last-minute shoppers rushed to get health insurance Saturday, trying to beat the final enrollment deadline for coverage in 2015.
Colorado’s health insurance exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, as well as enrollment specialists across Colorado Springs reported heavy traffic late last week and Saturday. The reason: Most people without government or employer-based insurance have until midnight Sunday to enroll in health insurance coverage for 2015.
The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, mandated that people get health insurance or face a fine come income tax time. That penalty increased this year – meaning that adults not exempted from the mandate will be fined $325 or 2 percent of their yearly household income. Fines for uninsured children are $162.50.
More than a dozen people lined up outside Peak Vista Community Health Centers’ enrollment center Saturday morning, leading the nonprofit’s leaders to double staffing at the facility from eight to 16 health coverage guides. The enrollment center will be closed Sunday.
In all, 98 families received assistance from health coverage guides Saturday – most of whom were seeking to buy insurance, rather than get help signing up for Medicaid, said Marjorie Noleen, a Peak Vista spokeswoman. More than 75 additional families received help by phone from the nonprofit, which largely cares for low-income residents living from Cripple Creek east to Kit Carson County.
“Everyone’s pretty busy,” said Cinthya Munoz, enrollment services supervisor at Peak Vista. “It’s been back to back. We haven’t even taken a lunch break.”
Meanwhile, Web traffic surged at Connect for Health Colorado, as did wait times to its Colorado Springs-based call center, said Curtis Hubbard, an exchange spokesman. He stressed that people who begin enrolling by Sunday’s deadline will be able to finish it later in the week.
The key, he said, is starting the process.
“It’s not as though they have to finish everything tomorrow,” Hubbard said.
The deadline marks the end to a somewhat turbulent open enrollment period for the exchange, which encountered periodic glitches and budget overruns after kicking off its second enrollment season Nov. 15.
Plans for 3,615 people, for example, were not automatically renewed for coverage in 2015 due to a glitch that … – Click Here To Visit Article Source