Local push underway to get health insurance before deadline

Local push underway to get health insurance before deadline

Posted:
Insurance experts are offering free help around East Tennessee for those still needing to purchase insurance. Insurance experts are offering free help around East Tennessee for those still needing to purchase insurance.
If you don't have coverage before the deadline, you may have to pay a fee, either one percent of your income, or $95 per adult and about $50 per child. If you don't have coverage before the deadline, you may have to pay a fee, either one percent of your income, or $95 per adult and about $50 per child.

By KAYLA STRAYER
6 News Reporter

SEVIERVILLE (WATE) - There's a big push underway to sign up for health insurance before the open enrollment deadline on March 31.

The federal government reports more than 6 million Americans have signed up with the health insurance marketplace since October 1.

Insurance experts are offering free help around East Tennessee for those still needing to purchase insurance.

Rebecca Shults attended one of those sessions Friday at Walters State Community College in Sevierville. She's a mom of two who doesn't have health insurance because she hasn't been able to afford it. Now, she's looking at her options with the Affordable Care Act.

"Some people say it's affordable. Some people say it's higher. I was just holding off as long as I could," Shults said.

Andrew Bennett is an independent insurance agent who helped guide Shults through the online marketplace.

"Deadline is March 31, right around the corner, so it's tough getting everybody signed up right now," Bennett said.

Shults' mother-in-law, also named Rebecca, enrolled through the marketplace in January. She says she couldn't be happier with her plan.

"I would credit it with almost saving my life because I had a test that I wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise," Shults said.

"You can just see them relax sometimes because they know they have conditions that need to be treated that haven't been able to be treated. In some cases it's really a life changing event for them," Bennett said.

Richard Henighan is a volunteer with the Tennessee Healthcare Campaign. He's scrambling to get people enrolled before the deadline, so they won't have to pay a penalty.

"Tennessee has one in six people who have been un-insured. Those are the people needing to look at where they are and get an exemption or get signed up," Henighan said.

Bennett says to avoid any fees, you need to have your healthcare application at least started by March 31.

If you don't have coverage before the deadline, you may have to pay a fee, either one percent of your income, or $95 per adult and about $50 per child.

There is still time to get free help navigating your health care options. Insurance experts will be on hand at the following dates and times:

  • March 29: Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Knoxville from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • March 29: Blount County Library in Maryville from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • March 29: Cansler Family YMCA in Knoxville from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • March 30: Blount County Library in Maryville from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • March 31: Cherokee Health Systems on Western Avenue in Knoxville from 3 p.m. to 12 a.m.
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