For Immediate Release
March 20, 2014
Get Covered Illinois Urges Illinoisans Who Are Not Covered to Take Action
State is Extending Assistance Hours at the GCI Call Center
Final Push Underway to Encourage Uninsured Residents to Enroll Before March 31
CHICAGO – With just 11 days left to sign up for coverage through the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace, Get Covered Illinois (GCI) today urged Illinois’ uninsured residents to take action now to enroll in a health plan under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Uninsured residents who do not sign up by March 31 will not be able to benefit from a Marketplace plan that might include financial help until January 2015, a nine-month wait and a huge missed opportunity.
“If you are an uninsured Illinois resident, the time is NOW to enroll for health coverage in the Illinois Marketplace,” Jennifer Koehler, Executive Director of Get Covered Illinois, said. “Though the final deadline to enroll is March 31, enroll now to avoid the rush of last-minute enrollees that may cause long lines if you are enrolling with an in-person navigator, or long wait times if you need information or assistance by phone.”
GCI also announced the Get Covered Illinois Help Desk (866-311-1119) will be offering extended hours from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm from March 24-28, and from 7:00 am until midnight from March 29-31. In addition many GCI grantee organizations are offering extended hours over the next 11 days in order to meet the demand for in-person assistance from certified navigators. Go to GetCoveredIllinois.gov to find organizations in your area and call ahead to find out hours of operation and to make an appointment for enrollment assistance.
“Our message is simple – Don’t Delay. Enroll Today,” Koehler said. “If it’s your first time enrolling, you are enrolling more than one person, or you wait to the last minute, the application process could take longer than expected and you may run the risk of not completing the enrollment process on time.”
Failure to act to get health coverage could result in:
- Missing out on the coverage you and your loved ones need to stay healthy
- Incurring huge medical bills if you get hurt or sick
- Being fined either 1% of income or $95, whichever is greater, when you file your 2014 federal taxes
To date, more than 323,000 uninsured Illinois residents have signed up for health coverage. A total of 113,733 have purchased a plan through the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace; an additional 210,000 have enrolled in expanded Medicaid under the ACA. GCI is on pace to meet the state-level enrollment estimate of 143,000 for the Marketplace established last September by the US Department of Health and Human Services (from national Congressional Budget Office estimates).
The GCI website has experienced a sharp increase in traffic during the month of March, seeing the daily count of unique visitors jump from less than 10,000 per day in February to 33,000 per day this week. In addition, the number using the screening tool, which determines if applicants should seek coverage in the Marketplace or may be eligible for Medicaid, has doubled to more than 8,000 per day this week.
Finally, GCI is urging health care consumers to take advantage of the assistance that is being offered via the web, over the phone and in person through hundreds of community partners statewide.
- Visit our website at GetCoveredIllinois.gov (includes a Spanish-language version).
- Call the Get Covered Illinois Help Desk at 866-311-1119.
- Meet in person with a specially trained “Navigator” who can help you understand your options and help you even enroll at one of the hundreds of partner sites across the state.There are more than 1,500 Navigators throughout the state that can be located by visiting the website and entering your zip code or through calling the Help Desk.
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