Saturday is the Obamacare open-enrollment deadline


By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

BOARDMAN

Saturday is the open-enrollment deadline to buy health- insurance coverage through the federal Affordable Care Act’s marketplace for 2019.

Mahoning County Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti and Youngstown 4th Ward Councilman Mike Ray, both Democrats, spoke Wednesday on the grounds of Akron Children’s Hospital on Market Street in Boardman to get the message out about the enrollment deadline.

People can sign up online at healthcare.gov or by calling 800-318-2596.

“The deadline is fast approaching,” Ray said.

Last year, 230,127 Ohioans – including 5,027 in Mahoning County and 4,509 in Trumbull County – signed up for health insurance through the ACA, also known as Obamacare. Most of those who participate don’t get health insurance through work or receive it from Medicare or Medicaid.

“It’s important that we have health coverage,” Rimedio-Righetti said. “People need to realize this is one of the essential things you definitely need to have.”

Ray said he spent time on the healthcare.gov website and found it to be “user friendly.”

He also advised people to enroll as soon as possible.

“Don’t delay,” Ray said. “You don’t want to be there at 11:50 on Saturday night when the system is overloaded.”

After Saturday, people can still sign up for coverage if they have what is called a “qualifying life event” such as getting married or divorced, having a baby, a change in residence or losing health coverage.

With tax credits, about 80 percent of those who get covered at healthcare.gov can get policies for about $75 a month, Ray said.

“You can get coverage for less than your cellphone bill or your electric bill,” Ray said.

There are 10 companies in Ohio offering plans for 2019, up from eight this year.

One significant change that takes effect this year is the repeal of the individual mandate that required people to have health insurance or face a fine. Without the mandate, there will be no fine for those who choose not to sign up for health insurance.

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