Help available as time slips away before healthcare tax penalty - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Help available as time slips away before healthcare tax penalty

Shelby Hancock Shelby Hancock
Monette Harrison Monette Harrison
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Whether you know it or not, you will have to pay a fine next year if you don't get some kind of health insurance in the next 24 days. March 31st is the deadline to enroll, and avoid paying a penalty on your 2014 income tax.

But navigating through the federal marketplace, and understanding how to work through the website, is a timely, and sometimes overwhelming task. 

"Everyone's going to be affected and everyone should be informed about what's happening,"  says Shelby Hancock, with Bama Covered.

The March 31st deadline is fast approaching and still millions of Americans are struggling to sign up for healthcare coverage.

"A lot of people don't have emails, or they don't work the computer, so they give up," says Monette Harrison with Enroll Alabama. "Or they call on the phone and they don't answer, so they give up."

"A lot of people don't know that there are affordable options out there for them," Hancock explains. That's where she and Harrison come in to help. "We're there to help answer people's questions," Hancock says.

Both organizations have the same goal, to walk people through the system. "It's about an hour per person," Hancock says, to make sure they understand what's available.

"I'm full disclosure up front," Harrison says. "I don't want them to have surprises. I don't want anyone to have a surprise when we finish."

And they help explain how your income affects your options, and opportunity for subsidies.

"This plan is not for people who don't have income," Harrison says. "They need to have income in order to qualify for the discount." And that income needs to add up to what you file with the IRS.

"They're gonna match this with the taxes," Harrison says. "If you make more than what you put on there, you may have to pay that subsidy back because they gave you too much. If you make less, they may give you additional credit."

The process can raise a lot of questions. That's why there's help available to provide some answers.

"It's just that people don't know," says Hancock.

Both groups, Enroll Alabama and Bama Covered are hosting enrollment events around the area over the next three weeks. The first is March 15th at Alabama State University's Acadome.

Remember, it's a timely process, so if you plan to attend, it's best to block out about an hour and a half to complete the process.

The events are free and open to anyone who needs help enrolling.    

[DOCUMENT: Enroll Alabama events (.pdf)]

ON THE WEB: www.enrollala.com and www.bamacovered.org

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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