Health insurance deadline is one week away

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A canvasser stood on Jovi Taylor's front porch, talking to him about, and what he'd heard before was on the news.

"People have made it seem like it's so difficult and convoluted of a process," said Taylor.

After hearing the pitch from the group Cover KC?

"I'm definitely going to go get coverage as soon as possible," said Taylor.

He has until next Monday, March 31.  After that, the marketplace won't be open again until November 15.  Eligible individuals who don't get coverage by March 31 will pay a penalty when they file their taxes next year.  It's $95 or one percent of their income, whichever is higher.  You won't have to have coverage if you fall in the gap where you make too much for Medicaid and not enough for a marketplace subsidy.

"And similarly those who don't fill out tax returns which is generally making less than $20,000 for a family, $10,000 for an individual.  Those people would also not be subject to the penalty," said Jessica Hembree of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

But Cover KC knows many people will be subject to the penalty, so they're knocking on doors and encouraging people not to wait to check out the plans.  There's a lot to consider, not just monthly premium prices.

"Think through your tolerance for risk because essentially if you end up with a bronze plan, you're going to be paying a lot less out of pocket, but if you get sick you need to have some money in the bank that you can use," said Hembree.

Not everyone the canvassers meet is enthusiastic about getting coverage.  Julia Garlington says she looked at the website.

"Between $150 and $200 a month for insurance is kind of steep.  Just thought I can't do it," said Garlington.

She's willing to risk a penalty.  Garlington also says because she's young and healthy, she doesn't really think she needs coverage.

Insurance agents, navigators and counselors can help people select plans.   There are some open enrollment events this week.  For details, CLICK HERE. To find an insurance agent, CLICK HERE.

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  • Mary Friedl

    What if you live in the State of Kansas. A friend applied and was told she qualified for Kan-Care through the Federal Government. However, our wonderful State does not recognize this. Therefore, she had little to nothing she could ever afford with deductibles in the range of $6,000.00. She will not be penalized, however, she has no insurance. Why isn’t anyone talking about the State of Kansas and why they don’t accept what the government will allow.

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