Columbus expert talks about the second phase of Obamacare enroll - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Columbus expert talks about the second phase of Obamacare enrollment

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It's round two for Obamacare open enrollment as the process started on Saturday Nov. 15.

Dr. Tania Edwards, the president of the Columbus and Ft. Benning Medical Society and physician of Chattahoochee Valley Family Medicine says the healthcare.gov website has changed for the better. 

Edwards says people should see fewer problems this year compared to the technical difficulties users faced last year.

"Last year was more of a trial and error thing," Edwards says. "But more improvements and updates have been made to the website to help consumers sign up for health insurance as quickly and easily as possible."

Edwards explained the screens have decreased from 76 to 16 screens which should save consumers time and energy. She also said the website is expected to work with less glitch from last year.

"We saw 25 percent reduction in the under-insured last year," Edwards said.

Edwards also said more federally certified counselors and navigators are available to help consumers with the enrollment process as well.

On Nov. 10,  the Obama Administration said about 9 million people are estimated to sign up for health insurance in 2015.

Edwards said those who make about $11,000 to $29,000 in annual salary will receive the greatest benefit when applying to the health insurance since they are eligible for the highest subsidy. Edwards also explained consumers need to research and see if their doctors will accept their insurance as well.

"All insurance plans are not the same and there is no size that fits all," Edwards explained. "This year, we found out that some insurance plans and reimbursements may be different. As a result, we cannot accept all insurances at this time. It's really important for you to call your doctor to make sure they accept your kind of insurance before you hit that accept button on the healthcare.gov website."

The Open Enrollment plan will continue until Feb. 15, 2014.

According to the healthcare.gov website, people who don't have health coverage for 2014 may have to pay a penalty. The fee is higher in 2015 than it was for 2014. The website states it's 2 percent of your income or $325 per adults and $162.50 per child, whichever is more.

Edwards says Obamacare might not be perfect, but it's one of the best solutions people can use to decrease healthcare cost.

"It decreased the number of uninsured and it's helping the working poor," Edwards said.

Edwards says there are local federally-funded navigators at Valley Health Care who can offer free services to those who need assistance with signing up for Obamacare on the healthcare.gov website.

For more information contact Diane Montenegro at 706-322-9599 at extensions 1901, 1903 or 1003 to get in touch with local navigators who can help consumers sign up for health insurance unique to Georgia's system.

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