The first open enrollment period for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA ) ends March 31. The law requires that every citizen and legal resident of the United States have health insurance or they may be required to pay a tax penalty when filing for taxes in 2014. There are some exceptions, but in most cases, everyone will need to have health coverage.
Several options are available for people who currently do not have health insurance, but quick action will be needed to access the insurance that is available.
Children, pregnant women, parents, and childless adults with low incomes have access to BadgerCare+, the state health insurance, and can apply today for coverage to start on April 1, 2014. To apply, families can visit www.access.wi.gov to fill out an online application or can call their local BadgerCare+ office for assistance. The number for the local offices can be found at http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/forwardhealth/imagency/consortia.htm]. Those eligible for BadgerCare+ can apply at any time.
For those not eligible for BadgerCare+, there still may be health options available with discounts to help pay for premiums, deductibles, and co-payments. The Health Insurance Marketplace can be found at www.healthcare.gov or www.cuidadodesalud.gov (for Spanish speakers). Visit this website to apply for BadgerCare+ and private insurance plans with financial help. You will also learn if you are eligible for discounts (tax credits), and will be able to browse and compare different plans that are available in your county.
When you choose the plan that fits your budget and health needs, you can enroll in the plan and apply your tax credits to your monthly premium. After paying your first month’s premium, your plan will start the following month.
Applications for BadgerCare+ and the Health Insurance Marketplace are available online, but if you would like help applying over the phone, call the national call center at 1-800-318-2596 (open 24 hours, 7 days a week), or request in-person assistance by calling your local 2-1-1 for a reference to a community organization near you that can help you apply.