By LISA CAPOBIANCO
As the first day of open enrollment for Access Health CT (AHCT) kicked off last Wednesday, 10 in-person locations will now provide free help for individuals and families who are searching for a health care plan.
AHCT now has 10 free-in person locations to help residents sign up for health care coverage throughout the open enrollment period, which will continue through Dec. 22. These locations include Waterbury, Danbury, Bridgeport, Stamford, New Haven, Milford, Hartford, New Britain, New Haven, Norwich and East Hartford.
“This year we’ve expanded,” said Kathleen Tallarita, a spokesperson for Access Health CT. “We did have community partners before, but we didn’t utilize them the way that we’re utilizing them this year.”
In an effort to spread awareness about these new enrollment locations, AHCT CEO Jim Wadleigh took a tour throughout these sites throughout the state last week. Last Wednesday, Wadleigh also took a tour of the Faneuil, Inc. call center in Bristol, where certified enrollment partners can assist residents in choosing the right health care plan over the phone. Located at 32 Valley Street, Faneuil entered into a contract with AHCT in September 2016 to provide customer care and other business processing support.
Last year, 110,000 Connecticut residents enrolled in a private healthcare plan, which was similar to the previous year, said Tallarita.
If consumers do not have health insurance coverage next year, they could face a tax penalty of $695 or more when they file their federal income taxes.
Residents who are already have health care coverage through Access Health CT also may need to enroll again. Tallarita said there are various factors that determine this.
“People should have already received information from Access Health and their carriers as to whether or not they will be automatically re-enrolled or if they will have to come in and re-enroll,” said Tallarita.
Tallarita said the 10 new enrollment locations will provide an education piece to the consumers, especially for those who have questions about specific plans and for those who may qualify for Medicaid or other financial assistance.
Advanced premium tax credits will be available to individuals who are below 400 percent of the poverty level, said Tallarita.
“Our brokers play a large role in helping people find the correct plan for them because there is more than just pricing. There is more than just pricing to consider,” said Tallarita. “You need to make sure it’s the right plan for you and your family.”