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Enrollment deadline drawing near

Do you have health coverage?

March 31 marks the last day for individuals to enroll in health insurance.

Counselors at the Bureau and Putnam County Health Department are busy in their last push to reach individuals needing assistance before the Affordable Healthcare Act enrollment deadline.

Dan Eiten of the health department reported local enrollment has been strong since November and has been steadily increasing.

“In the last two weeks, things have really picked up, and we expect this final week to be very busy. But we have great staff, and I’m confident we will be ably to accommodate anyone needing help,” he said. “We’ve had weekly targets that we have consistently met or exceed, so we are very pleased with that.”

Under the Affordable Healthcare Act, thousands of Illinoisans who were previously unable to get insurance can now get covered. All plans included in the Marketplace cover recommended preventive services free of charge, include a cap on out-of-pocket costs, have no lifetime or yearly dollar limit on coverage, and will not reject anyone on the basis of pre-existing condition.

As previously reported in the Bureau County Republican, Illinois residents will pay less than residents in many other states under the Health Marketplace, and benefits may be even more affordable by subsidies offered by the federal government based on income.

As a reminder, those who go without health coverage may face a penalty on their 2014 taxes.

“This fine is 1 percent of annual income or $95 per person for 2014, whichever if higher,” Eiten said.

In the final push to get individuals enrolled, the Bureau and Putnam County Health Department, Tri-County Opportunities Council and Princeton Public Library have partnered to offer extended enrollment hours ahead of the deadline.

Extended hours offered during the final weekend of open enrollment will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Princeton Public Library.

For more information, contact the Bureau and Putnam County Health Department at 815-872-5091 or Tri-County Opportunities Council at 815-915-5708.

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