What options do uninsured people have at this point? I gave up on dealing with the website and the waiting on hold forever at healthcare.gov. So I did not end up with any plan at all. What should I do?
Dear Halfway There,
Your options depend upon where you live and how much money you earn. If you are working and making more than 133% of Federal Poverty($15,282 for a household of one person), then this year’s open enrollment season has passed you by and you will have to wait for next year’s. This will start in the fall, and your new plan would start January 1, 2015.
If you are making less than 133% AND you live in a state that is “expanding” Medicaid, then you can apply for Medicaid. (Note: if your income is close or a bit higher than 133%, apply anyway. There are certain things that are disregarded that may put you into qualifying. I am assuming that you would not otherwise qualify for Medicaid, such as being pregnant or having children in your household. Income limits apply here too; it’s just that all states, not just “expansion” states would cover you in these situations. There is no open enrollment season for Medicaid. If you qualify, you’re in. Find your state on Kaiser Family Foundation’s list.
If you do not get Medicaid, you can look for sliding fee scale clinics and apply for your local hospital’s charity care programs. These also will not have a deadline for you to enroll.