By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Enrollment had a rocky start, but now seems to be gaining steam. President Obama today said about 4 million people have signed up for health insurance through federal or state marketplaces set up under his health care law. With the deadline to enroll just a little more than a month away, 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan finds there’s a final push to get the word out.
At the YMCA on North Broad Street Derrick Jones was enrolling in a health insurance plan today. He’ll now be covered for the first time in years. He says, “It feels very good to know that I’m covered and I have health insurance.” With the deadline to purchase health insurance fast approaching, he signed up just in the nick of time. Nancy O’Connor, Regional Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says, We’ve only got 34 days to go until March 31st and after that the marketplace is closed.
Anyone not covered by health insurance by March 31 will have to wait until open enrollment begins again in the fall. In the meantime, they risk being fined for not having coverage. According to O’Connor, “There is a penalty or a fee if you don’t have health coverage after March 31st or after the end of the open enrollment period. The fee is one percent of your household income or 95 dollars,” whichever is greater.
Pennsylvania State Senator Shirley Kitchen was among the speakers at today’s enrollment event where the message was kept simple. “Anyone can be hit with a catastrophic illness, a chronic condition that can cost thousands and thousands of dollars. So that’s really the thing to keep in mind, get some peace of mind and enroll in a health insurance plan,” says O’Connor.
To find out about sign-up events in your area or to get enrollment assistance, click the links below: