If you don't have health insurance, you have until March 31st to meet the deadline for the Healthcare Reform Act. If you don't sign-up you'll be missing an opportunity and paying a tax penalty.
But the staff at Morton Comprehensive Health Services says that penalty could go a long way towards paying for your coverage. Morton Director of Senior Outreach and Education, Grace Burke, says there even people who pay less than their penalty and they have insurance.
Clients are finding out they can get health coverage at a reasonable price. But 80% of those who are eligible don't even know about the deadline, and 70% don't know that financial help is part of the law.
If you'd like to take baby steps, there's a lot of information out there that can be seen from your own home.
A non-profit group called Get Covered America has a website to get people involved in the process
They're also starting a public service campaign to get people started on their applications.
Their President, Anne Filipic says 60% of people get covered for $100 a month or less and they're surprised by how much is covered.
You can't be denied because of pre-existing condition or even cancer. Plus the plans cover many basics like emergency room care and prescriptions. There's lots of help to get you into the system. Morton has 5 counselors working from 9:00-5:30, 6-days a week.
Grace Burke says most who have applied are very pleased with the outcome.
"It's worth the time, it's worth the effort," Burke said. "If they don't get a subsidy they can keep coming to Morton and they'll still have healthcare."
So far in this state, only 24,000 people have signed up. That means 600,000 must be signed up before the end of the month.
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