Free health care enrollment and education event

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Local ACA healthcare navigators will be hosting a free health care enrollment and education event Jan. 30, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Polk County Library Community Room, 1289 West Mills St. in Columbus. The event is open to the public and will include private, confidential appointments with Affordable Care Act navigators along with basic information on your insurance options.


One-on-one enrollment appointments can be scheduled by calling the NC appointment line at 855-733-3711 or booking online at Navigators will make every attempt to accommodate walk-ins but scheduling an appointment in advance guarantees a spot on Jan. 30. Staff will be on hand to provide basic information, guidance and assistance with obtaining help from the Federal Marketplace assisters at for walk-ins who are not able to be seen on the day of the event.

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Those interested in enrolling should bring their Social Security or immigration document numbers, income information for every member of their tax household, policy numbers for current health insurance plans and any information about job-related health insurance available to the family. An estimate of projected 2016 income will be used to verify eligibility for premium tax credits that reduce the cost of health insurance.


Information on health resources available in Polk County for those who may not qualify for any other form of health insurance coverage will be made available to anyone who does not qualify for financial assistance in purchasing Affordable Care Act marketplace insurance plans.


Fees continue to increase for those subject to a penalty for not having health insurance. In 2014 the minimum penalty was $95 per person. The minimum penalty for 2016 is $695 per person, capped at $2,085 per tax household, and the maximum is calculated at 2.5 percent of adjusted taxable income, with limits. If your income is below certain limits or you meet other exceptions, you will not have to pay a fee for not having health insurance. Navigators can help you apply for an exemption to the penalty.


This event is being held during the open-enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, which ends Jan. 31. For more information please contact Lisa McAlpine at 828-513-0710 or email


Submitted by Lisa McAlpine