Affordable Care Act open enrollment period ends Friday

Affordable Care Act open enrollment period ends Friday

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The window to enroll in Affordable Care Act health insurance is coming to a close and your last chance to enroll is Friday.

According to one local doctor, even if you're completely healthy and think you have nothing to worry about, it's always good to get health insurance because you never know what could happen.

If you don't get health insurance, Dr. Gerald Harmon with the American Medical Association said you're still going to get taken care of, but it might cost you more money and take longer to get that coverage.

"And when you go to the healthcare facility and ask for care, the first thing they're going to want to look at is your insurance card,” said Harmon. “You'll get quality care, there's a mandate for that too, but it will delay care a lot of times and you'll delay it yourself because you'll say, 'Gee, I don't want to have to pay this, because I don't have insurance,' and then you'll have the natural tendency to not take care of yourself, and then you'll get sicker. Get insurance."

Harmon said statistics have shown for decades that people without insurance are less healthy and may not live as long.

Enrollment is up in South Carolina this year compared to last, but Harmon said there is still a concern as to what the Affordable Care Act will look like under potential new laws that are up for review when it comes to cost sharing reductions.

Now, if you don't pay for healthcare coverage, Harmon said you'll be required to pay a penalty for not having it and then also be required to get it.

Harmon said some people take the route of deciding to wait and if they need health insurance, paying the penalty because in some cases, they take the chance of the penalty being cheaper than the initial premiums.

Having that individual mandate may change if some new laws up for review pass, according to Harmon, but as of right now, this is where it stands.

If you don't know how to enroll and want to seek help, Harmon said you can always go to your local social security office and they can help you there, but he recommends the easiest way is probably right from a computer.

"It can be daunting. There's a number of plans to choose from in many states. In our state there's really just one. Still, the questions can be somewhat intimidating if you're not used to scrolling on a computer," said Harmon.

When it comes to choosing a coverage plan, Harmon suggests going with a plan depending on how much coverage you think you'll need.

If you're interested in enrolling in healthcare under the Affordable Care Act, click here.

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