Staff at Access Health CT are busy in the final hours as they get ready for the third year of open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act.
Open enrollment begins Sunday November 1 and ends January 31.
Access Heath's outreach team has been hard at work in recent weeks getting the word out about the benefits of coverage and the financial penalties connected to being without coverage.
“They’re definitely ramping up the business, they’re giving out flyers, they’re hosting some community chats" said Marlue Pierre-Louis, who manages the New Haven storefront for Access Health CT.
Connecticut's healthcare exchange runs storefronts, known as "enrollment centers" in New Britain and New Haven for people to meet with someone in person to review their coverage options.
Penalties for not signing up are higher than they were last year. For each person in a household, the financial penalty is $695 per person per household and $347.50 for each child, or the total penalty could be 2.5% of the household's total income, whichever is greater.
During tax season, filers must provide proof of insurance and if someone doesn't provide proof of coverage, the penalties are applied.
Four providers are available to individual customers looking for what are known as "qualifying health plans" or QHPs.
United, Anthem, HealthyCT and Connecticare all offer plans during open enrollment.
Pierre-Louis with Access Health CT says customers are advised to speak with enrollment specialists to ensure that they're getting all of the right information when it comes federal subsidies that could drastically trim the costs of premiums.
“We’re really basing it on your income and your household size and bring a document that shows you’re a citizen or you’re lawfully present, we need your social, your annual income, and just with that basic information we can give you a rough estimation of what you qualify for" she said.
Connecticut has one of the lowest rates of uninsured people in the country at about 4%. That equates to just more than 140,000 people.
The goal this year, for Access Health CT, is to keep searching for people who have fallen through the cracks, while also retaining the people who have purchased qualifying health plans in the past.
Click here for the Access Health CT locations.