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Missouri deadline for health insurance approaches

Northwest Missourian

By: Molly Bryan

The dreaded tasks of paying bills, taxes and insurance sneak up on students as they enter adulthood. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, young adults can avoid at least one of these until the age of 26.

With the approaching March 31 deadline, the Cover Missouri Coalition is working to help Missourians understand health insurance and their options. Young Invincibles is an organization that has worked with the Cover Missouri education campaign to engage younger audiences and ensure that young adults have the tools available to make the important decision about their health care coverage.

“I want to get a large message out that students can sign up right now,” said Brian Burrell, policy and organizing manager with Young Invincibles. “There are people in the (Maryville) community who can help students through this process.”

Missourians without health insurance can be penalized one of two ways, either 1 percent of a yearly income or a flat rate of $95. If the yearly income is less than $10,150, no penalty is enforced.

“One of the biggest things with young adults is that this is the first time they are getting health insurance on their own,” Burrell said. “We want to take time and explain to them how health insurance works and give them some financial literacy background,.. We want to make sure students have the answers they need.”

The ACA states that a young person can stay on his parents’ plan until the age of 26, regardless of school status. This affects nearly 4 million young adults nationwide. This year’s open enrollment period ends March 31 and will not begin again until November 2014.

“The ACA changed that you cannot get rejected for having bad health,” Burrell said. “But you cannot just wait until you get sick. If you don’t sign up by March 31, then you have to go a long time without health insurance. Health care is extremely expensive without health insurance.”