This year, March will not only be a great time to watch college basketball, but also the last chance District residents have to sign up for health insurance plans through Obamacare before this spring’s open enrollment deadline. With that in mind, DC Health Link is making a late full-court press to sign up as many residents as possible, making it easier than ever with enrollment events set up throughout the community.
Residents who miss the March 31st deadline will not have a chance to sign up for a health plan again until October and will also face a fine of $95 or 1 percent of their income, whichever is greater. This means that uninsured households put themselves at financial risk if they do not act.
DC Health Link is setting up enrollment events across the city to help residents get through the application and enrollment process. These “One Touch Centers” will have Health Link-trained assisters and health insurance brokers available to help residents who are purchasing private health insurance for the first time or need assistance selecting a plan on the new online marketplace. Assisters can also help residents sign up for financial assistance that make health plans more affordable, such as tax credits and subsidies.
Staff from the Department of Health Care Finance and Department of Human Services will also be on hand to help Medicaid-eligible residents apply for coverage and assist in any casework management that needs to be done.
Another goal of the One Touch Centers is to create a “no-wrong door” environment’so that any residents looking for health insurance can come in and sign-up for the program or plan that is best for them without having to go to another location. This makes sign-up easier on the customers and prevents families with more complicated cases from visiting a public benefits service center where staff may not have as much expertise in health insurance.