Virginia's New Health Insurance Marketplace Starts October 1

Lynchburg, VA - One million people in Virginia do not have health insurance.

October 1 is the first day of open enrollment for Virginia's new health insurance marketplace, run by the federal government as part of the Affordable Care Act.

Locally, 7% of Centra's clientele are self-pay, meaning they do not have health insurance. Starting October 1, Virginians who do not have affordable health insurance can shop and compare private health insurance options and be able to apply for tax credits and subsidies.

"Offering this assistance to the community really just fits in with the mission of Centra and it fits into our regular work flows easily," said Melissa Viohl with Centra Health.

Centra just became a certified organization to help people out as they apply for the marketplace. They have 10 counselors on-hand now and plan to have 100 staff members certified by the end of the year.

ENROLL Virginia! is one of two navigator projects in Virginia funded through federal grants. It has federally trained and certified navigators on-hand. They can help you in three ways: 1) Shop for commercial health plans sold through the health insurance marketplace. 2) Apply for the premium tax credit, so you pay less on health coverage; and 3) help you find out if you qualify for public health insurance programs like Medicaid.

The new Marketplace opens October 1st. At that point, just call: 1-888-392-5132, or visit the site online at Open enrollment will last six months. If you currently have health insurance, this does not really apply to you.

"People who chose not to have health insurance will just have to pay a little bit more on their taxes and over the years that tax penalty gets a little bit higher but this is an incentive to encourage people to have health insurance," said Jill Hanken, Project Director for Enroll Virginia.

Here's the breakdown. If you choose not to have health insurance, You will pay a $95 tax penalty, per adult; $47.50 tax penalty, per child; and a maximum of $235, per family. That, or 1% of your adjusted gross income; whichever is greater.

If you want to learn more about how the health insurance exchange program works you can stop by a seminar by Weaver and Weaver Insurance Agency on October 19th from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. at the Liberty Conference Center.

On the Southside, you can call the Contact Listen Line. That number is 1-877-934-3576.They have counselors who will help navigate all the policies and get you registered.

Kaiser Family Foundation

Weaver and Weaver Insurance