Local business helps mid-Missourians enroll for health insurance
COLUMBIA - One mid-Missouri business is helping residents with their health insurance enrollment for free. Primaris, a health care consulting firm, and Knowledge Management Associates, a subsidiary of Primaris, are assisting residents with enrolling in the marketplace created through the Affordable Care Act.
Primaris and Knowledge Management received a $320,000 grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health to help Missourians understand and enroll in the Missouri marketplace. The grant comes after some residents were confused last year about the president's health care law, including the penalty imposed on those who do not buy insurance.
The act required everyone living legally in the US to have a health insurance plan by January 1, 2014. Coverage plans for 2015 are available at the online health insurance marketplace also known as an exchange. HealthCare.gov allows residents to choose between four levels of health plans including:
- Bronze plan: Allows 60% of covered health expenses.
- Silver plan: Allows 70% of covered health expenses.
- Gold plan: Allows 80% of covered health expenses.
- Platinum plan: Allows 90% of covered health expenses.
The program manager said they hope the consultants will be able to clear up some of the most common questions asked.
"A lot of people don't realize that 85 percent of people qualify for financial assistance on the marketplace. So there may have been some misconceptions that premiums were high or it was unaffordable but that was before we helped you do an application," Robin Corderman, Consumer Assistance Program Manager, said.
But Corderman said there is one issue that most residents are worried about.
"I think that there is a lot of misconceptions about what people call the penalty, the shared responsibility payment. Most Missourians will have to have insurance or they will have to pay some sort of fine. But there are some exemptions for that," Corderman said.
Consultants at Primaris are trained and licensed and one-on-one assistance is personalized to each unique situation.
Residents can come in for in-person counseling at the following locations:
- Columbia, Monday-Friday, 8:30 am - 5 pm: Primaris, 200 N. Keene St.
- Jefferson City, Thursdays 9:00 am - 3:00 pm: Capital Region Medical Center, 1125 Madison St.
- Osage Beach, Wednesdays, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm: Lake Regional Health System, 54 Hospital Dr.
- Daniel Boone Regional Library, Columbia, 9:30 am - 3:30 pm (in partnership with Central Missouri Community Action, Central Missouri Area Agency on Aging, and Family Health Center,)
Residents can 573-817-8338 or visit primaris.org to book appointment ahead of time.
Missourians have until February 15 to sign up for health insurance.