Hospital to hold insurance seminars

Greenwood Leflore Hospital will host a pair of informational sessions and offer counseling this weekend to help explain health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The sessions will be held Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon in the main lobby of the hospital.

Health insurance representatives and brokers, as well as certified insurance navigators from the hospital’s staff, will be on hand to help explain the individual insurance market under the 2010 Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare —  and help walk area residents through the process of signing up for coverage, including answering questions about eligibility for federal insurance subsidies.

Open enrollment for coverage on the health insurance exchanges will run through Feb. 15.

Americans are required to have health insurance under the law. Those who don’t obtain coverage  now face penalties on their tax bills of $95 per personor 1 percent of household income (whichever is higher), with those penalties set to rise in the next year to $325 or 2 percent of income.

Allison Faulkner, director of communications for the Greenwood Leflore Hospital, said the hospital’s insurance outreach advisers have been receiving more calls about signing up for coverage since the fees started popping up.

“We’ve had several calls from people who’ve gone to file their taxes,” Faulkner said. “People are getting concerned about that.”

This year, a second insurance provider will be offering policies to Leflore County residents on the individual health care exchanges. UnitedHealthcare will join Humana Healthcare as an option for area residents. Humana was the sole provider available on the individual exchanges in the county last year.

Residents earning up to four times the federal poverty line could be eligible for subsidies to help offset the cost of obtaining health insurance. Eligibility varies based on income and family size.

Those who earn too much or too little to qualify for federal subsidies are welcome to use the exchanges as a tool to obtain rate quotes when shopping for health insurance.

An earlier version of this story listed incorrect times for the information sessions.

• Contact Bryn Stole at 581-7235 or bstole@gwcommonwealth.com.