Time running out to sign up for health care with federal market

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JEFFERSON CITY - There is limited time left to sign-up for health care through the federal market place.

Jan. 31, 2016 is the final day of the open-enrollment period, meaning as of Saturday there are only eight days left.

Insurance advisors from Primaris Foundation, a nonprofit insurance-advice organization, sat down with mid-Missourians to offer un-biased health care information. The insurance specialists hosted the event at the Missouri River Regional Library in Jefferson City Saturday afternoon.

Rose Marie-Lewis, a certified application counselor with Primaris, said having reliable health care is vital for the community.

"If you do not have reliable health care, even preventive care, then it's going to cost the whole community more down the line," Marie-Lewis said. "If you don't have proper health care and you have a contagious disease, you can impact a lot of people."

Marie-Lewis said many people who are skeptical of signing up for federal insurance focus on its cost.

"That's the number one impact to a family," Marie Lewis said. "Our job is to try to provide health care for people that haven't had health care before, or have been unable to get good information.

April Brown lost her job of five years due to health reasons, but was able to receive a break in her premium through the Affordable Care Act. She said her continued coverage has been helpful.

"Due to health reasons, it has been a real blessing in-disguise," Brown said. "Because of those tax credits you receive through the Affordable Health Care Act, I was able to have more affordable coverage."

Marie-Lewis said a common misconception people have prior to signing up for health care is the connotation of the term "Obama-care."

"People feel like they're being punished or penalized with the new system," Marie-Lewis said. "As of December, there are 82 million people in the United States that have health care coverage that didn't at the beginning of our first enrollment period three years ago."

Marie-Lewis said that although the final date to sign-up for health care is Jan. 31, if you have a "life-changing event," you can enroll during off-months. She said the life-changing events could include changing residence, losing or gaining different health care through an employer, giving birth to a baby, or recently being released from Jail.

People who are American Indian or have Alaskan native heritage can enroll year-round.