Missourians Sign Up for Health Care Before Deadline

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COLUMBIA - Insurance counselors helped mid-Missourians sign up for health care through the Affordable Care Act Saturday before the approaching open enrollment deadline.

The deadline to sign up for coverage through the President's Health Care Act is March 31. Primaris, an insurance counseling service in Columbia, hosted an open house to educate people on their insurance options and assist them in signing up for coverage. About a dozen counseling appointments were scheduled for the event and several walk-ins were also accepted.

"Approximately four in 10 Missourians get such financial help that they have access to at least one plan that costs them nothing," Jeremy Milarski, Primaris Navigator Program Manager. "Their premium after subsidies is zero, meaning they have a choice that is an economic one, not a political one. They have a choice between basically free insurance if they don't get sick or, in some cases, a tax penalty. We help by educating people on their options, how the system works, how the financial help works and what these policies cover."

Although the deadline is only about three weeks away, Milarski said there is still time to sign up.

"I think many people might be a little afraid of this," Milaski said. "This can be complicated for some people, particularly if you've never had insurance before. But, at the same time, it also can change your life. A lot of people, you know, when they're living without insurance they don't really have peace of mind. This can make the difference."

Primaris navigators work as educators and counseling is free.

"Call us, let us go over your numbers," Milarski said. "We ask questions that help you see where you stand. One of the approaches to this that I think increases your chances of running into problems is just kind of barreling through without thinking about what your income is, what your family size is and how you file for taxes."

There will be another open enrollment event in Jefferson City on March 15 at Capital Regional Medical Center.