Summit County nonprofit hosts health insurance sessions to help seasonal workers | SummitDaily.com

Summit County nonprofit hosts health insurance sessions to help seasonal workers

Alli Langley
alangley@summitdaily.com

QUALIFYING LIFE CHANGE EVENTS

Though open enrollment in the health insurance state marketplace Connect for Health Colorado is closed until November, people can still enroll if they experience a qualifying life change event:

• Losing health insurance through your employer

• Losing Medicaid coverage

• Turning 26 and losing coverage from a parent’s plan

• Moving to a new state

• Getting married or divorced

• Having or adopting a child

As Summit County’s ski resorts and other winter businesses shut down for the season, the majority of the county’s workers will at least temporarily be without jobs.

That means they are eligible to purchase health insurance through the state marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, even though the marketplace’s second-ever open enrollment period ended in February.

The nonprofit Family and Intercultural Resource Center in Silverthorne will host enrollment sessions to help Summit residents and workers receive coverage on three Thursdays in April.

FIRC’s health coverage guides will be in the Tip Top Room in the South Branch Library on April 9, 16 and 30, from 2 to 6 p.m., and on April 23 from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. The library is located at 103 S. Harris St. in Breckenridge.

FIRC staff members recommend that anyone who experiences a qualifying life event — a loss of insurance through a job, turning 26 or a drop in wages — start the enrollment process through Connect for Health Colorado before their insurance ends to avoid gaps in coverage that could mean expensive bills if they need medical care.

“Summer is such wonderful time in Summit County,” said Danielle McQueen, FIRC health navigator. “We don’t want people to feel like they have to hold back from the activities they love because they’re afraid of getting hurt and being uninsured.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, all Americans are now required to have health insurance or pay a fine. People have up to 60 days after losing coverage to find new coverage, and after that grace period, they will be taxed up to 2 percent of their income for every month without insurance.

“Understanding all the nuances of health insurance, like what constitutes a life-changing event and how it applies to an individual or family, is not easy,” said Rob Rumrill, FIRC community support manager.

Residents who experience a drop in wages may also qualify for health insurance through Medicaid. Single adults who earn $1,305 a month or less or two adults who combined earn $1,766 or less a month are eligible for federal health insurance through Medicaid. Medicaid enrollment is open year-round, and those who think they qualify can receive help from Summit County Social Services or FIRC.

Those who want to enroll in a new plan or prevent gaps in coverage can contact local insurance brokers or FIRC health coverage guides at (970) 262-3888.

For more information about how FIRC can help, contact health coverage guide Danielle McQueen at (970) 455-0214 or daniellem@summitfirc.org or visit SummitFIRC.org.


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