CHARLESTON, W.Va. — An executive with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says tens of thousands of West Virginians still have not enrolled for the health care insurance that’s required in the Affordable Care Act with less than two weeks remaining before the enrollment deadline.
Dr. John Lumpkin, senior vice president and director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation — a nonpartisan resource — recently issued a reminder to state residents that the enrollment deadline is March 31.
“The window does close (then) for most people and it will open up again on Nov. 15,” said Lumpkin.
People who don’t have health insurance after March 31 may be subjected to tax penalties through the Internal Revenue Service.
As of earlier this month, almost 11,000 West Virginians had registered for health care coverage through the federal exchange. Lumpkin, though, said as many as 60,000 West Virginians could qualify for health insurance subsidies.
“There are many people who don’t know about the fact that they can get financial assistance and people should let their neighbors know, their family members know, if they go to healthcare.gov, they can find out about their eligibility and get this very important health insurance,” Lumpkin told MetroNews.
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is the only company offering health insurance plans on West Virginia’s exchange.
Additionally, since October, more than 87,000 state residents have qualified and enrolled in coverage through the Medicaid expansion.
Nationally, officials with the Obama Administration estimated five million total Americans have chosen a health insurance plan through the federal and state exchanges. The goal of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is six million enrollees before the deadline.
The enrollment portal is www.healthcare.gov. People who don’t have computer access can call 1-800-318-2596 for assistance with enrollment.