What if I am injured and do not have health insurance?
You probably know that under the Affordable Care Act most individuals are required to have health insurance coverage or pay a penalty. The penalty is paid when you file your federal tax return. The penalty for 2014 was $95 per adult/$47.50 per child. For 2015 it is $325 per adult/$162.50 per child. For 2016 forward it will be $695 per adult/$347.50 per child.
While millions of previously uninsured Americans have obtained health insurance since 2013, there are still many who are uninsured. The states with the largest percentage of non-elderly adults who are uninsured are in the west and south. Texas is #1; Oklahoma is #2, and Georgia is #3, with 17.5% of people remaining uninsured as of 2014.
What if I am injured but do not have health insurance?
Since I practice personal injury law in Georgia, it is not unusual for me to see people who have been injured in a car wreck or slip and fall who don’t have health insurance and cannot afford treatment. What I have found from talking to many of these people is they are unaware that they can purchase insurance after their injury that will cover their treatment for the injury. That is because the Affordable Care Act does not allow insurers to refuse to cover “pre-existing conditions”.
I have a client who had been told he needs spine surgery due to an injury in a car wreck earlier this year. He had no health insurance. Until we talked and I explained he could get coverage under the Affordable Care Act, he did not think there was any way to get treatment for his injuries. I’m glad to say he recently signed up for health insurance beginning January 2016 and will finally be able to have the surgery the doctor has told him he must have.
How can I get coverage under the Affordable Care Act?
Open enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act for 2016 began November 1, 2015. Here are more specifics about enrollment dates. Details can be found at https://www.healthcare.gov/quick-guide/dates-and-deadlines/
- November 1, 2015: Open Enrollment started — first day you can enroll in a 2016 insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Coverage can start as soon as January 1, 2016.
- December 15, 2015: Last day to enroll in or change plans for new coverage to start January 1, 2016
- January 1, 2016: 2016 coverage starts for those who enroll or change plans by December 15.
- January 15, 2016: Last day to enroll in or change plans for new coverage to start February 1, 2016
- January 31, 2016: 2016 Open Enrollment ends. Enrollments or changes between January 16 and January 31 take effect March 1, 2016.
If you have been injured and cannot afford treatment, it may pay for you to look into coverage under the Affordable Care Act. You can look online at www.healthcare.gov, or call the Health Insurance Marketplace at 1-800-318-2596. You can also get in-person help in your community. A list of those near Carrollton can be found at https://localhelp.healthcare.gov/.