Affordable Care Act enrollment deadlines approaching - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Affordable Care Act enrollment deadlines approaching

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - The Affordable Care Act is just two weeks away from its fourth birthday.

Those working in the health care industry say it's been a long four years, especially as they work to get folks enrolled in health care plans.

"In the beginning, it was real slow. A lot of folks weren't coming in, and they weren't showing up for their appointments, even if they made one," Tracy White, Patient Access Manager at Unity Point Health - St. Luke's said.

One of the act's biggest deadlines is three weeks away, on March 31. That's the date that every American must be signed up for health insurance coverage before facing penalties.

Health care officials are saying the enrollment process has gotten a lot smoother.

"There's definitely more people that are comfortable, that want to get on a plan. They feel like it's beneficial to do so," Adam Kuiken, Financial Services Manager for Siouxland Community Health said.

Even though the end of open enrollment is quickly approaching, folks at both Unity Point Health St. Luke's and Siouxland Community Health say there's no need to worry if you haven't signed up for coverage just yet.

Siouxland Community Health has five counselors on-hand to answer questions and help process health care applications. St. Luke's offers free appointments to help with enrollment, as well.

"We've seen some great success stories. In fact, a few of our very own have come in, received the insurance, and received a huge discount, per say, because of their actual income. And they were quite surprised," White said.

If you don't sign up before March 31st, you'll be liable for the monthly penalties, which will be one percent of your monthly income, or 95 dollars, whichever is greater.

Those in the health care industry aren't sure when those penalties will start, but they don't believe the government will be able to monitor health coverage status for individual citizens until next year's tax returns are filed.

Overall, officials say they think the Affordable Care Act might be more help, than hassle.

"For a lot of them, it's been very affordable. We've got a lot of success stories," Kuiken said.

"I think it's going to help out our patients tremendously, which is really what we're after anyway," White said.

While the final deadline for health care sign up isn't until March 31, if you want your health care coverage to begin by April 1, make sure to sign up by Friday, March 15.

If you'd like to make an appointment for enrollment help at Siouxland Community Health Center, call 712-252-2477.

If you'd like an appointment at Unity Point Health - St. Luke's, click here, or call 1-888-275-5235.

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