With the Affordable Care Act going into full effect this year, the penalty for uninsured citizens is set to begin during the 2015 tax filing season.
However, there are ways to avoid the penalty fee enforced under the ACA and Janice Morris, outreach service coordinator for Oakhurst Medical Centers, wants to educate the community about all the options available to them.
In that effort, Oakhurst Medical Center, a nonprofit clinic located at 977 Taylor Street, in conjunction with Rockdale Medical Center, will be hosting the "Healthcare Insurance Exchange Enrollment Event" for anyone who needs assistance enrolling, re-enrolling, or making changes to their government insurance.
People who need to file paperwork to be exempt from the penalty fee can do that at the event as well.
Morris says that a lot of people in Rockdale are still uninsured, even though they may be able to receive insurance through the government health exchange.
"Debra Armstrong wanted to put the awareness out to people without insurance about the Affordable Care Act," said Morris. "Some people aren't aware if they're eligible or not (for the insurance)."
About half of the Rockdale community isn't aware of the process involved with signing up for the healthcare exchange so that's where the problem arises, says Morris.
During this event, there will licensed navigators to assist people with the process.
According to the Morris, there are three choices people have to avoid the penalty. They can either apply for private insurance, go through the process to determine their eligibility for the healthcare exchanges or file exemption status, which is based on income.
The deadline to apply for health insurance is Feb. 15, 2015. The penalty for an uninsured adult is $97.50, while the penalty for having an uninsured child is $47.50.
The healthcare event will last for three hours this afternoon from 4 to 7 p.m. It'll take place in the East Tower Classrooms of the Rockdale Medical Center, 1412 Milstead Avenue. A similar event will take place Jan. 22, 2015.
Anyone planning to attended the event with hopes of enrolling will need to bring with them the Social Security number of every member of your household who needs coverage, income information for every member of your household who needs coverage, policy numbers for any current health insurance plans covering members of your household and a completed Employer Coverage Tool for every job-based plan for which you or someone in your household are eligible.