Deadline to enroll in Affordable Care Act is January 31

Deadline to enroll in Affordable Care Act is January 31

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The fight on Capitol Hill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare is underway with Republicans saying it is a top priority.  Still, it is the law of the land today and a deadline to choose a 2017 health plan is fast approaching, 

It is business as usual at SWLA Center for Health Services on Opelousas Street in Lake Charles.

Inca Allen is the Outreach and Enrollment Supervisor, working to connect the uninsured with affordable, even free, health plans.

"Medicaid expanded and some people that may come in to do the Affordable Care Act enrollment, the system will recognize if they qualify for Medicaid. They will leave with coverage on one side or the other," said Allen.

For those not covered by Medicaid, January 31 is the last day to enroll in or change a 2017 health plan under the Affordable Care Act.  

Allen says the fight on Capitol Hill to repeal and replace Obamacare should not hinder people from signing up now.

"Even if it's repealed, it's a process," she said.  "It takes time. It won't be repealed immediately."

Tommie Anderson is the center's CEO.  He says there has been a steady increase in patients served, as a result of more people being insured.
"More people are coming in to get those services because it's not as expensive for them to receive it when they have health insurance," said Anderson.

There are full-time outreach coordinators at the center to walk people through the sign-up process.  

If a person fails to sign up before the January 31 deadline, the penalty this year is $695 per person.

More than 2,000 people have signed up for the Affordable Care Act or become eligible for Medicaid at SWLA Center for Health Services. They accept walk-ins or appointments with outreach specialists Monday through Friday.  There are locations in Lake Charles, Oberlin, Crowley, and Lafayette.  Call 439-9983 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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