News Home
Quick Bites
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
On AirNewsClassical
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Northeast Ohio Medical University

Levin Furniture

Meaden & Moore

For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )

Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Health and Medicine

Open enrollment ends tonight for the Affordable Care Act
Local counselors and navigators are helping people navigate the website, gain subsidies and avoid tax penalties

Kabir Bhatia
David Tipton (right) needs help navigating the Obamacare system because, right now, it thinks he and his wife (on disability) make too much combined to qualify for a subsidy
Courtesy of K. Bhatia
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
Today is the deadline for open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act, and Northeast Ohio’s counselors are trying to help people at least start the process before midnight – or incur what could be some serious fines. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports.
Open enrollment ends tonight for the Affordable Care Act

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:27)

Open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act kicked off last fall, with immediately coming under fire for technical glitches. With those issues sorted out, the number of people signing up has increased, especially in recent weeks as the deadline closes in. 

“I think the challenge has always been just navigating the website. Understanding what to answer. How to answer.”

That’s Kristine Drummond, CEO of Axesspointe Community Health Centers, which held an enrollment event over the weekend at its Kent office.

“Having someone beside you that’s been there, done that [and] understands the processes just enabled a lot of people to do what, probably, they could have figured out. But it would have taken a lot more time.

“Many of the people coming have never had health insurance before, and often don't understand such things as deductibles and co-pays. So there's a lot of generic questions involved in this process as well.”

Drummond says many of the people who come in for help just aren’t sure how to register online, or have run into technical issues in the past. And almost all of them want to avoid the tax penalty for not buying insurance. 

David Tipton from Kent says he tried signing up online, but the website thinks he and his wife make too much to get a subsidy. She’s on disability, and he works for a company that offers health insurance, but it’s too expensive for him and does not include dental or vision coverage. 

“That puts me between a rock and a hard place. I’m trying to decide what to do right now. If she can get me a little bit less price insurance, to where we can both survive and pay insurance, then I’ll get it. If not, I’m just gonna have to pay the penalty out of my taxes, unfortunately.”

Who gets penalized, and when
The tax penalties kick in for anyone making more than about $10,000. Then, it's “$95 or 1 percent of your income, whichever is more. But next year, it’s going to be around $350. The year after that, it’s going to be in the $600’s," according to Heather Morris, a certified application counselor at Axesspointe. She walks people through the process, and she’ll continue doing so after today’s deadline. Still, for many of those who don’t start the process by midnight, not only do the penalties kick in, but subsidies end, too.

“I’ve seen a great range. I’ve seen someone get help for $62 a month. And I’ve seen someone get help for $600 a month. It just depends on income, age, tobacco use and where you live.”

That subsidy, and the penalty, are also why John Roberts came from Green to the Axesspointe event. He’s a retired Mt. Union professor, and has benefits through the State Teachers’ Retirement System. But his wife only taught at the university part-time.

“She could have been on mine, except we couldn’t afford an extra $600 for her a month. We put things off and off and off and this is sort of the last day or so you can get in on this particular thing. And we started learning about things like the $95 and how it compounds after a while and it becomes much, much higher.”

Wait til next year
Last week, the Obama administration granted an extension to anyone who at least starts the process by tonight’s midnight deadline. So far, The Washington Post reports that six million people have signed up nationwide as of March 1, which is less than the Congressional Budget Office's original projection last year of seven million, but higher than more recent projections.  People who have a major life changing event – such as losing a job or getting married – will be able to sign up as those events happen throughout the year. And to get coverage for 2015, and avoid a tax penalty next year, open enrollment begins in about seven months, on Nov. 15.
Add Your Comment


E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook

Stories with Recent Comments

Kimono canvas makes rare trip outside Japan
Hi! There is some mis-information regarding Itchiku Kubota's showing of his work. The first time his work was shown, was not in 1995 at the Smithsonian, but was...

Kasich campaign evokes dark images of a Trump presidency

Backers of legalizing marijuana in Ohio promise to be back in 2016
We should be aloud to grow more than 4 plants and not have to register with the state considering it will be a free market.

Akron says it's had no second thoughts about welcoming refugees
What business does Councilman Neal own on North Hill? I'd love to support him. I am so glad to have the refugees in our neighborhood. I have lived here for 25 ...

Scarborough says the University of Akron is trying to rebuild relationships
In order for the University of Akron to grow and become a desirable place for students across Ohio and elsewhere, it must address the crime problem in the Akron...

Ohio Sen. Cliff Hite wants to end pay-to-play sports fees at Ohio's schools
You can bet Hite and Husted will also rush to the rescue of the Academic Challenge team, the speech-and-debate squad, the Science Olympians and the chess club. ...

Ohio lawmakers consider new gun bills
States that have gun restrictions/cities have reduced gun violence is false. CHICAGO has some of the toughest gun laaws/restrictions but yet fun violence is off...

Cleveland's public transit system considers fare increase for 2016
I work with individuals with disabilities. Yes some of my folks need more help than the average person. As a whole, the group I work with however can manuver ju...

Community group sues to re-open part of Wadsworth hospital
My father was part of the founding group of citizens which started the "new" Wadsworth/Rittman Hospital. For some reason the leadership for the future of the ho...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University