Healthy House will have Covered California enrollment event Saturday

aibarra@mercedsunstar.comMarch 24, 2014 

Healthy House with a MATCH Coalition and PICO California (People Improving Communities through Organizing), will hold a Covered California registration event this weekend before the March 31 open enrollment deadline.

The enrollment event will be 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at the Healthy House office, 301 W. 18thSt. The office also will be open the same hours on Sunday and Monday to accommodate anyone who cannot attend Saturday’s event.

“There are still a lot people who are unclear of where to go for help, so we’re expecting to see a good crowd of people this weekend,” said Candice Adam-Medefind, Healthy House executive director.

This is Healthy House’s ninth sign-up event since open enrollment began on Oct. 1. Adam-Medefind estimates that Healthy House has enrolled about 200 households and about 600 individuals. She said her son, Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, is expected to be on hand to support the event.

Healthy House works with certified enrollment counselors who can provide services in eight languages: English, Spanish, Hmong, Mien, Lao, Punjabi, Hindi and Portuguese.

Healthy House and PICO are committed to helping Merced County families, Adam-Medefind said.

“People’s lives are really at stake when they don’t have affordable health insurance, she said. “We had a middle-class woman who was battling breast cancer. Her health was dragging down her small business, and she was paying almost a $1,000 premium for health insurance, so that was a heavy burden. After we got her enrolled in one of Covered California’s subsidized plans, her monthly premium dropped down to $135. Just to see the look of relief on her face, it was priceless. This is why we need to get people signed up.”

Anyone interested in enrolling must have a California driver’s license or identification card, verification of income with recent income tax forms or pay stubs, Social Security information and proof of legal status.

Those who do not enroll by the March 31 deadline will be required to pay a tax penalty. The 2014 penalty per adult will be $95 or 1 percent of annual income, whichever amount is greater.

Sun-Star staff writer Ana B. Ibarra can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or aibarra@mercedsunstar.com.

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