Five days left to enroll in healthcare, reductions could be avai - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Five days left to enroll in healthcare, reductions could be available

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Based on your income and household size, affordable care plans offer payment and premium assistance for those seeking health insurance.

Columbus State University Professor Dr. Paula Walker says insurance subsidies could reduce cost for those who qualify.

"What needs to be stressed is that it's not that the insurance will be necessarily free, but it will be more affordable based on what you bring in," Walker said.

With more than 140,000 Georgians signed up on the Health Insurance Marketplace, there's a push to get the state off the list of uninsured and people on to one of the Affordable Care Plans

"It's going to be salary dependent or income dependent. It's going to be also based on their status -- station in life," Walker adds.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, those with an annual income between 100 percent and 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines are eligible for reduced premiums and deductibles under the Affordable Care Act. Dr. Walker says there are also exemptions.

She says,

"If there are individuals who are homeless or who don't have any income whatsoever, then those are the individuals that might be exempt," she says.

There is a list of nearly two dozen items that will exempt you from the tax penalty. They range from being homeless to experiencing another hardship trying to obtain health insurance.

"If you're already insured under Medicaid or Medicare, none of your privileges will change. You'll still have the same coverage that you had before," Walker confirms.

And while the deadline to sign up is less than five days away, a partial extension has been issued.

The enrollment deadline is still March 31. An extension was issued to allow those who have started the enrollment process more time to finish, however if you are not signed up or have not at least started the process by next Monday you may still be subject to a tax penalty.

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