AUSTIN (KXAN) — Millions have already signed up for health insurance but millions have not. If you are not signed up for coverage by Sunday night you’ll face a big government fine. For Vanessa Escobedo Barba, it’s been on the to-do list for too long.
“Life gets in the way and everybody gets really busy and I just kept kind of putting it off and putting it off and putting it off,” said Escobedo Barba.
Just days before the window closes, she took action Thursday and finally registered her family. Self-employed, she and her husband didn’t like their current plan. Having no other options, they signed up through the Affordable Care Act.
“Find out what’s important to your family and you can pick a plan based on that to make a good decision for yourself and for your family,” said Escobedo Barba.
She wasn’t the only one waiting until the final stretch. Health benefits consultant Ron Nemetz helps folks sign up and said he’s been fielding 50 calls a day – double what was coming in last month. Many clients didn’t realize the penalty.
“I’ve been getting a lot of people lately that have been going to their accountant and realizing they have a tax penalty for last year for not having insurance and wanting to avoid that penalty this year, which will double,” said Nemetz.
Now signed up, it’s been back to work, and back to family time for Escobedo Barba.
“I’m really glad that it’s done and I’m looking forward actually to our new plan,” Escobedo Barba.
If you don’t sign up for coverage, the fee you’ll pay could triple this year. You will pay whichever is higher, either 2% of your annual income or $325 per adult and half that for each child. That’s nearly $1,000 for a family of four.
The number of Texans who have already purchased health insurance is up by almost 40% over last year. During the last enrollment period one year ago, 734,000 Texans bought in. This year, more than one million have signed up – nearly 88,000 of those in the Austin area.