Statewide ACA health care sign-up effort - Tucson News Now

Statewide ACA health care sign-up effort

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

We're getting down to the wire.

This is the last month for people to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

There was a big push across Arizona Saturday to help people enroll.

For most, if you don't already have health care coverage, you need to get it by March 31st or face a fine.

There were 14 sites in and around Tucson helping people get the ball rolling Saturday, including St. Mary's Hospital in Tucson.

But, if you missed it, there are still ways to get help.

At events all across the state, ACA experts, called navigators, were helping people get signed up or just get more information.

"I do have insurance right now and I was just going to see if it was cheaper for me to switch over. And it seemed like it was," says Tucsonan Rodney McNeil.

Some had already found signing up on the website healthcare.gov a bit daunting.

"In trying to do it myself, I found that I'd made my mistakes. This is my second trip down here this morning and I'm now able to figure out what I did wrong when I tried to do it myself," says Tucsonan Connie Seddon.

Some who went to the sign-up event wanted information on the ACA Marketplace and some found they qualified for subsidies or for Medicaid, called AHCCCS (Access), in Arizona.

"We're seeing a lot of people interested in the marketplace, asking questions on the marketplace and how they can enroll, premiums, their costs, their coverage," says Carondelet Health Network Admitting Director Marisela Licea.

She says many who come in for assistance like the idea of having someone walk them through the process, instead of trying to do it alone online.

"Many people prefer the face-to-face conversation with a navigator, feel that their questions are answered more clearly," Licea says.

Of course, the online resources still are there for those who prefer to do it themselves.

Plus, as the March 31st deadline approaches, many local hospitals and other groups will continue providing navigators to help people through the screening and signup process.

However, you have to do more than just sign up by the deadline.

You have to send in your first premium payment.

"By March 31st people should have chosen a plan, made a choice as to what plan they will have for health care coverage and submitted their payment. So it has to be postmarked by March 31st," Licea says.

If you missed Saturday's event, there still is a lot of sign-up help available if you need it.

"There's plenty of resources in the community. There's also resources on the web that people can actually log in and get information and even start an application process via the internet as well," Licea says.

Again, the enrollment period ends March 31st for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The next enrollment period will be in November.

People eligible for Medicaid may sign up at any time.

To reach navigators at the Carondelet Health Network, the number to call is 872-7100.

There also is the website soazcares.org.

That southern Arizona organization's phone number: 1-800-377-3536.

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