Response to the availability of health insurance coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act, in understatement, has been less than overwhelming in Mississippi. As of late November, only 148 Mississippians had been registered.
A free information time on Saturday at the Link Centre drew only nine people to get the information offered by Catch Kids and Access Family Health Services.
The ACA’s website dysfunction has been its own worst enemy nationwide, but the White House announced Saturday the site now can handle up to 50,000 people at a time, which, if correct, should increase registrations.
The clock is running on the deadlines set for the required registration for health insurance coverage; the first month’s premium is due by Dec. 23 so that the insurance can be in force by Jan. 1, 2014. However, enrollment does not close until March 31; after that date, late enrollment penalties will apply unless rules are changed.
An online application, however, is just one of four ways to go through the registration process.
The official website, HealthCare.gov, offers explanations on how to register:
• Apply with a paper application; fill out a paper application and mail it in, and also find out “whether you’re eligible for lower costs on private insurance, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). To get a paper application, download the application form from the website.
• Apply online:
Set up an account. Start by going to the Marketplace page. First you’ll provide some basic information.
Compare options. You’ll be able to see all the options you qualify for, including private insurance plans and free and low-cost coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Enroll, and after you choose a plan, “you can enroll online and decide how you pay your premiums to your insurance company. You must pay your premium by the date the insurer provides before your coverage can begin. Coverage can begin as soon as Jan. 1, 2014.
Learn what you can do to get ready to enroll.
• Apply by phone or with an in-person assister:
Call (800) 318-2596, 24 hours a day, seven days a week (TTY: 1-855-889-4325). A customer service representative will assist, or call Catch Kids at (662) 377-2194 or Access Family Health at (662) 844-4252.
All people must have health insurance unless the law is repealed, and that seems unlikely.