Help available as health care deadline nears

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WFAA

Posted on March 29, 2014 at 9:51 PM

Updated Sunday, Mar 30 at 8:58 PM

DALLAS — Navigators helped North Texans seeking to sign up Saturday for health insurance as the Affordable Care Act deadline approaches at midnight Monday.

More than 60 families walked to an Enroll America clinic seeking coverage. Many told volunteers this will be the first time in their lives to have health insurance.

"For some, it's been a little frustrating process at times, but when they come in and get the health care they need — at an affordable price — they walk away with a sense of relief," said navigator Daniel David Clayton. "We've seen people very happy."

While the deadline to get Affordable Care Act coverage this year is Monday, people who have started the signup process by then may get a little extra time to finish.

If you need help signing up, or if you have questions, Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas will have its offices open extra hours on Monday. You can meet with a certified counselor from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

In Fort Worth, John Peter Smith Hospital has certified counselors on hand on Monday at seven offices in Fort Worth, Arlington and Bedford.

People who lose their current coverage later in the year because of a job loss may not have to wait until next year to shop on the exchange.

Remember, people who are eligible for coverage but who refuse to sign up by March 31 could face a penalty come tax time next year.

That penalty is either one percent of your yearly household income or "per-person" fees of $95 per adult and $47 to $50 for each child under 18. Families would face a maximum penalty of $285.

Something else to keep in mind, though — those penalties will be higher each year going forward. By 2016, families who shun health care coverage will owe the government nearly $700 per person.

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