WINNSBORO — With less than two months remaining until the Affordable Care Act registration deadline, Fairfield Memorial Hospital will be extending hours to be available for enrollment.
FMH clinical outreach coordinator Harvey Beach said Fairfield County residents making an average income are finding that they can sign up for health plans with a standard coverage that cost as low as $50 per month.
Plans range from bronze to silver or gold, but in order to qualify for a subsidy, a person must sign up for at least the silver plan.
There is also a platinum plan, however it is not offered in South Carolina.
Some plans do cover dental and vision, but not all.
Beach cited that the basic plans are for basic health care coverage including doctor’s visits and diagnostic testing. Beach also noted that most plans range around $50 or less and doctor visits cost either $5 or $10 per visit.
W-2 tax forms and household information will determine if a person qualifies for a subsidy or not.
“That is one of the things that people are not realizing,” Beach added. “Is that the subsidies are tied to your taxes and unfortunately we’ve had people not take advantage because of how their taxes are filed and we can’t do anything about that.”
Beach added that people should be aware of how to file their taxes in 2014 in order to take advantage of the subsidies available.
For patients that don’t qualify, FMH will reach out to those individuals with two programs.
Uninsured patients or patients that go through the FMH emergency room who are diabetic or diagnosed with hypertension will be put through a program so that care can be provided for them.
If a person is making $2,000 per month, the most an employer can charge for insurance is 9.5-percent of their income.
Beach recommends people take advantage of the subsidy, because a person does not know what they qualify for until they answer the questions and are entered into the system.
“We are finding that a number of individuals in the state are even available for medicaid, but they won’t find out until they receive feedback,” he stated.
No matter what the situation is Beach recommends every person to visit FMH whether he/she has insurance, doesn’t have insurance, plan on getting insurance or don’t plan on getting insurance.
“We’re trying to reach out to those people to see if they are eligible for the subsidy or eligible for medicaid,” he said.
Regardless of a person’s situation, Beach suggested everyone visit FMH to at least view what they might be missing out on. Last year, there was $800-million worth of assistance that went unclaimed.
FMH has extended their hours for enrollment information every Wednesday until 7 p.m. through March 31. Walk-ins are welcome and no appointment is necessary. The process usually takes 45 minutes.
For information on assistance call 803-609-0209 or 803-718-4930. See the Feb. 7 edition of The Herald Independent for additional information about assistance available through FMH.