Affordable Care Act deadline weeks away

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- As the deadline to sign up through the health insurance marketplace quickly approaches, navigators say they've been busy. They're answering lingering questions surrounding coverage and eligibility.

Uninsured people are required to fall in line with the Affordable Care Act by March 31. But what about those who are not eligible?

Kelly Murphy, 22, falls into a gap with many Floridians when it comes to insurance coverage under the Affordable care Act. He's a full-time student at UNF who works part-time and earns less than $11,000 annually.

"Unfortunately the state of Florida did not elect to extend the Medicaid coverage," said Tatiana Ramirez. "So there are some people who will unfortunately fall into a gap between the Medicare eligibility and the affordable care act eligibility."

Ramirez is a Navigator for the Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida. She helps people sign up for coverage and says those earning below the poverty line, which is $11,490 for an individual or $23,550 for a family of four, are not eligible for tax credits through the online marketplace and will not be penalized.

"It puts you in a tough spot," said Murphy. "You have to make a choice. You want to work more especially if you're a student it could hurt your grades to work more or just be stuck in the middle, which is a terrifying thought."

Murphy says he's fortunate to currently be eligible to use his parents insurance.

Ramirez says she's often asked about sudden insurance changes such as people getting married, having a baby born or no longer being insured by your employer. She says you can sign up between the closed enrollment period, that's Mar. 31 to Nov. 15, and you will not have to pay a penalty.

Medicare and Medicaid recipients do not have to enroll in the online marketplace they're already covered.

There is an enrollment event hosted by Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown planned for March 22 at the Prime Osborn Convention Center at 1000 Water Street from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. At the event, you can get your questions answered and enroll before deadline.


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