From: Jean Terpstra
To the editor:
Do you have health insurance? Are you sure? Call your health insurance provider and ask if your plan provides “minimum essential coverage.” If it doesn’t, you will benefit from getting a plan that does.
I have run into many people in Columbus who are paying for health insurance through their employer, sometimes $200 or more monthly, who think they can’t buy insurance through the Federal Health Insurance Exchange and get the tax credits that make the insurance so affordable.
But if the employer-provided insurance does not provide “minimum essential coverage,” it does not count as a “qualified plan.” You can go on the exchange and get something better and often much cheaper. I have helped Columbus people who were shocked to realize they could get much better insurance for less money through the exchange.
The open enrollment period for the Federal Insurance Exchange (the only place income-qualified people can get tax credits to help pay for health insurance) is over on March 31. Anyone can find out what health insurance is available and how much it will cost by going to www.healthcare.gov or calling 800-318-2596 where an operator can help you.
You can get a local navigator, who is a person trained to help explain the process and medical insurance, at no cost by calling 800-699-1521 and making an appointment. It is all free and no pressure. We are not paid by anyone and do this as a service. You can then see your options and decide for yourself what insurance you prefer.
Do not delay. Action now could save you and your family a lifetime of regret and debt. As someone with more than my share of health care usage, I strongly urge you to check it out and make sure you have actual good health insurance, not just to avoid the fines, but to protect you and your family.
If you do not have “minimum essential coverage,” you do not have a “qualified health insurance plan,” and you and yours are at risk.