Wuesthoff Health System To Assist Area Residents Learn About Health Insurance Options
By Diana VanDeMark, Wuesthoff Health Systems // October 29, 2015
30 million Americans remain uninsured
BREVARD COUNTY • ROCKLEDGE, FLORIDA – Beginning Nov. 1, Wuesthoff Health System will again help area residents learn about and enroll in health insurance options on the Health Insurance Marketplace.
As part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), most U.S. citizens were required to have health insurance beginning in 2014.
Since the passage of the ACA five years ago, about 16.4 million uninsured people have gained health coverage. Yet, approximately 30 million Americans remain uninsured.
Health Plans on Health Insurance Marketplaces
“As a primary health provider on the Space Coast, our goal is to help educate residents in an easy-to-understand way, as well as assist those who haven’t yet signed up for health insurance or Medicaid, if qualified,” said Ron Gicca, interim CEO of Wuesthoff Medical Center-Melbourne.
“During the next few months, we’ll be out in the community and meeting one-on-one to help these individuals find affordable coverage.”
The Health Insurance Marketplace provides U.S. citizens access to affordable health insurance coverage. Depending on household income, some individuals may qualify for government financial assistance– or subsidies – towards the cost of the premium and other financial obligations like co-pays or deductibles.
All health plans on the Marketplace must offer a comprehensive set of benefits, and coverage cannot be denied for individuals with a pre-existing health condition.
Some of the health benefits include free preventive care and wellness services, doctor visits, prescription drugs, hospital and emergency department care, lab services, pediatric services – and more.
The penalty fee for not having insurance has increased this year. If you can afford health insurance coverage in 2016, but don’t sign up, you may have to pay a penalty ($695 per adult, $347.50 per child – up to $2,085/family or 2.5 percent of family income, whichever is higher).
You will have to pay the fee on the federal income tax return you file. And, without insurance, you will be financially responsible for all of your medical costs.
“This is where Wuesthoff can assist,” said Gicca.
“With many people not having access to a computer or having difficulty maneuvering on the government website, our application counselors can help individuals and their families evaluate the health plan options and determine if they are eligible for Medicaid or other financial assistance. We’ll also help with re-enrollment.”
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that helps with medical costs for some people with limited income and resources.
“While Florida has not expanded Medicaid, government subsidies to help citizens obtain coverage are available, depending on income and other qualifications,” explained Gary Malaer, interim CEO of Wuesthoff Medical Center-Rockledge.
“We can help screen these individuals and if they qualify, we can enroll them at anytime, with health coverage beginning immediately.”
Though a major function of Healthcare.gov is assessing whether individuals and families qualify for financial assistance to lower the cost of health insurance, Wuesthoff’s application counselors can perform the same analysis and help with enrollment and re-enrollment.
“Wuesthoff Health System is committed to improving the health of the communities we serve by helping residents gain access to healthcare services,” continued Malaer.
To make an appointment to meet with an application counselor, call 321-752-1260 or 321-752-1203 for the Melbourne campus and 321-636-2211 ext. 1138 or 1147 for the Rockledge campus.
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