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The Deadline is Approaching: What You Need to Know to Sign Up for Health Insurance

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Ashton Marra

The deadline to sign up for health insurance or Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and the state Medicaid expansion is Monday, March 31, but don’t fret! There is still time to start the application process if you haven’t yet begun.

Michelle Bays, a certified application counselor for Valley Health in Huntington, says there is some basic information you need in order to apply for coverage on the federal healthcare exchange.

  • Number of people in your household along with their dates of birth and social security numbers
  • Proof of income for your household, including pay stubs of W-2s
  • An Employer Coverage Tool- a form from your employer if they offer health insurance you are opting out of

That information will tell you whether or not you’re eligible for Medicaid or tax subsidies and give you a variety of health plans to choose from.

So far, fewer then 15,000 West Virginians have signed up for health insurance through the exchange, a number that greatly lags many other states’ totals.

Perry Bryant with West Virginians for Affordable Health Care says that number could have been better had the governor’s office chose to accept federal dollars for advertising campaigns.

“We’ve been handicapped in that effort,” he said. “There just hasn’t been the media campaign. So, we’ve been fighting this battle with one arm behind our back.”

A spokesperson for the governor’s office said Thursday when the state chose to partner with the federal government on the exchange itself, they also decided to leave the advertising up to the feds as well.

Bryant, however, was more than happy with the number of West Virginians signed up for Medicaid through the state expansion. That expansion increases eligibility from 100 percent of the federal poverty line to 133 percent.

Jeremiah Samples, assistant to the secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Resources, says 101,803 individuals have signed up for Medicaid since enrollment began in October. He expects that number, and the number of those enrolled through the federal exchange, to increase before West Virginia reaches their enrollment deadline Monday.


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