Penalty fee for not having health insurance increases this year


Williamson Memorial Hospital can help with enrollment

Staff Report

Beginning November 1, Williamson Memorial Hospital will again help area residents learn about and enroll in health insurance options on the Health Insurance Marketplace.

As part of the Affordable Care Act, most U.S. citizens were required to have health insurance beginning in 2014. Since the passage of the ACA five years ago, about 16.4 million uninsured people have gained health coverage. Yet, approximately 30 million Americans remain uninsured.

“As a primary health provider in Mingo County , our goal is to help educate residents in an easy-to-understand way, as well as assist those who haven’t yet signed up for health insurance or Medicaid, if qualified,” said Cindy Segar-Miller, CEO of Williamson Memorial Hospital. “During the next few months, we’ll be out in the community and meeting one-on-one to help these individuals find affordable coverage.”

Health Plans on Health Insurance Marketplaces

The Health Insurance Marketplace provides U.S. citizens access to affordable health insurance coverage. Depending on household income, some individuals may qualify for government financial assistance– or subsidies – towards the cost of the premium and other financial obligations like co-pays or deductibles.

All health plans on the Marketplace must offer a comprehensive set of benefits, and coverage cannot be denied for individuals with a pre-existing health condition. Some of the health benefits include free preventive care and wellness services, doctor visits, prescription drugs, hospital and emergency department care, lab services, pediatric services – and more.

The penalty fee for not having insurance has increased this year. If you can afford health insurance coverage in 2016, but don’t sign up, you may have to pay a penalty ($695 per adult, $347.50 per child – up to $2,085/family or 2.5% of family income, whichever is higher). You will have to pay the fee on the federal income tax return you file. And, without insurance, you will be financially responsible for all of your medical costs.

“This is where Williamson Memorial Hospital can assist,” said Segar-Miller. “With many people not having access to a computer or having difficulty maneuvering on the government website, our application counselors can help individuals and their families evaluate the health plan options and determine if they are eligible for Medicaid or other financial assistance. We’ll also help with re-enrollment.

Medicaid

Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that helps with medical costs for some people with limited income and resources.

West Virginia has expanded Medicaid coverage. This expansion increases the eligibility limits for adults to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (equivalent to an annual income of $16,242/year for one person; $33,465 for a family of four in 2016). However, citizens must enroll in the program; it’s not automatic.

Though a major function of www.healthcare.gov is assessing whether individuals and families qualify for financial assistance to lower the cost of health insurance, Williamson Memorial Hospital’s application counselors can perform the same analysis and help with enrollment and re-enrollment. To make an appointment to meet with an application counselor, call Roberta Varney at 304-235-2500 Ext 6127.

“Williamson Memorial Hospital is committed to improving the health of the communities we serve by helping residents gain access to healthcare services,” said Segar-Miller.

(Williamson Memorial hospital is directly and indirectly owned by a partnership that proudly includes physician owners, including certain members of the hospital’s medical staff.)

Williamson Memorial Hospital can help with enrollment
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