Ark-Tex Council of Governments Agency offers Premium Support Program with grant funding provided by CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System

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Ark-Tex Council of Governments Agency (ATCOG) is offering a Premium Support Program with grant funding provided by CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System for qualifying persons who have enrolled in the Health Insurance Exchange. The program is designed to help families and individuals pay their out of pocket expense for healthcare coverage. Individuals who qualify can have their premiums (the amount of money charged for insurance coverage) covered through the Premium Support Program.

To qualify for Premium Support, applicants must enroll through the Health Insurance Exchange (HIX) and choose a “Silver” Plan. In addition, applicants must also have an income between 100%-150% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines and be a Texas resident to be eligible for the Premium Support program.

More than 8 million previously uninsured Americans now have health insurance through the Health Insurance Exchange. Through the exchange, individuals can get the health care and insurance coverage needed at a price they can afford to help protect the individual and his/her family when medical care is needed.

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The deadline for enrollment in an insurance plan is Jan. 31, 2016, to avoid tax penalties that will occur for those who do not enroll. This year even more assistance options are available to area residents.

Arkansas residents who meet the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines do not qualify for Premium Support because their premium costs are already covered through the Arkansas expansion of Medicaid, also referred to as the private option.

CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System will provide several free Health Insurance Enrollment Assistance events in both Texarkana and Atlanta this Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. The first event will be held at Atlanta First Baptist Church from 8 a.m. to 12 noon, 205 West Allday Street in Atlanta, Texas. Another event will take place from 1 .m. to 4 p.m. at CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital – Atlanta, 1007 S. William Street. An event will also be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Centre West Baptist Church, 909 N. Bishop Street, Wake Village, Texas 75501. Certified Application Counselors will be on site to help guide participants through the enrollment process and determine if they qualify for insurance premium assistance.

If unable to attend one of the events, CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System provides Certified Application Counselors on-site to help guide participants through the health insurance exchange enrollment process and determine if they qualify for tax credits or insurance premium assistance. Whether enrolled already or need help enrolling, the certified application counselors can help individuals shop and compare plans side by side and determine if he/she qualifies for financial assistance that lowers costs even more. To determine qualification for premium assistance, participants must bring a pay stub from 2015 or a 2014 Tax Return. Persons who are not U.S. citizens must provide proof of legal residence.

“Our goal is to empower people from our area with the knowledge to make informed health insurance decisions in line with America’s health care law, the Affordable Care Act,” said Jim Pomeroy, CHRISTUS St. Michael Vice President of Mission Integration. “Certified Application Counselors are available to educate uninsured or underinsured individuals and families about affordable healthcare coverage, help them enroll or re-enroll, and help them determine if they qualify for premium assistance.”

“Benefits of the new health insurance options include less financial exposure for families because hospitalization and emergency services are covered,” Francine Francis, CHRISTUS St. Michael Director of Marketing and Communications, explained. “Plans include doctor and clinic visits, emergency care, hospitalization, maternity, and newborn care as well as pediatric services. Health insurance provides individuals and families reassurance that they can get the care they need when they need it.”

For more information on health insurance options or to make an appointment, call 1-877-445-1234 or go online to christusstmichael.org/getinsured.

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