Affordable Care Act signup assistance available

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, January 1, 2015

Do you have questions about how to find affordable, quality health insurance? Heard about, but are not sure what to do? If you are uninsured or under-insured, you may have questions about the best way to sign up for an affordable, quality health plan. Pisgah Legal Services, and other ACA Partners of WNC, can help with free, objective, in-person assistance!

Diane Caldwell with Pisgah Legal Services will be at the Polk County Department of Social Services, 231 Wolverine Trail in Mill Spring, on January 21 and February 11 from 1 – 5 p.m. She will be available to assist folks with signing up and with any questions about the Affordable Care Act. Appointments should be scheduled through 855-733-3711 or online at

Pisgah Legal Services, a nonprofit law firm, and other ACA Partners of WNC participating organizations give local residents free, objective health insurance information and enrollment assistance in the NC Health Insurance Marketplace.

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These organizations include: Blue Ridge Community Health Services, Council on Aging of Buncombe County, Legal Aid of North Carolina, Mountain Projects, Inc., Western Carolina Medical Society and WNC Community Health Services.

Many uninsured area residents now have access to affordable health coverage through the new health insurance marketplace created by the federal Affordable Care Act. Last year nine out of ten North Carolinians who enrolled for coverage received financial assistance.

The Marketplace is a one-stop shop to help individuals and families shop for, select and enroll in qualified health plans. The Marketplace is also the way for eligible individuals or families to apply for financial to help with the cost of insurance.  In-person professionals also help individuals access other federal and state health care programs, such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Those who have not signed up for health insurance will face penalties in the coming year, which will be deducted from tax refunds. For 2014, the penalty is $95/adult and $47.50/child or 1percent of taxable income. In 2015 the fees increase to $325/person and $162.50/child or 2 percent of yearly household income. In 2016 the fees will be $695/person or 2.5 percent of yearly household income.

Open enrollment ends February 15, 2015.

— Submitted by Evie White