Obamacare deadline looms, financial assistance remains - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Obamacare deadline looms, financial assistance remains

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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It's looking very unlikely that the Obama administration will make it's goal of getting 6 million people signed up for health care by the end of March. Tuesday, the government announced enrollment dropped for the month of February. So why are people so reluctant?

The Affordable Care Act provides reduced cost health insurance. But there is still a cost of those who sign up. Consumer advocates believe many of those who remain uninsured may not know about the considerable financial aid out there to help pay the bills.

Whether President Obama's affordable care act is the prescription that will cure the health care system remains up for debate. Still, few can argue the role it has played in giving options to those that need health insurance.

"Health care for uninsured people is insanely expensive," said Nancy Metcalf, a health insurance expert for Consumer Reports.

Metcalf said her daughter traded in a $430 a month plan for a $93 a month plan that has better coverage and lower deductible. Many in Kentucky are hoping for the same positive results.

As of March 6, nearly 280,000 in the bluegrass have used the affordable care act to enroll in new health care coverage. That means 360 thousand in this state remain uninsured. And under the gun.

The window on getting affordable care act coverage this year closes March 31st. Metcalf believes some have procrastinated because they don't want to start paying even a small amount for health care. She think those same people may not know, financial assistance is available.

"Nearly half of uninsured people still don't realize they might be leaving money on the table," Metcalf said.

Data on the Kentucky affordable care act website shows a family of 5 can make $110,280 and still qualify for some payment assistance. The lower your income, the more aid you can receive. So far more than 65,000 Kentuckians have qualified for subsidies.

Consumer Reports set up a website, healthlawhelper.org, to help guide you though the process and and figure out, what financial help you could be eligible for. And Kentucky is holding a number of sign up events around the state to help people beat the March 31st deadline.

·    Sign-Up Saturday at libraries around the state
o    Saturday, March 15: Contact your local library to confirm participation and times
·    Louisville Urban League Career Expo at Kentucky International Convention Center
o    Wednesday, March 19: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
·    Greenwood Mall in Bowling Green
o    Saturday, March 22: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
·    Florence Mall in Florence
o    Saturday, March 22: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

If you get signed up before March 15th, you can have your health insurance in place by April 1. If you wait until the end of the month, the insurance won't kick in until May 1.

The 2015 sign up period doesn't start until November 1 and you'll face a small fine on next years taxes, $95 or 1% of household income, for not having health insurance this year.

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