Nonprofits offer free ACA insurance advice

The annual fall open enrollment period ends Dec. 7 for new coverage that takes effect on Jan. 1.

The annual fall open enrollment period ends Dec. 7 for new coverage that takes effect on Jan. 1.

Open enrollment season under the Affordable Care Act is underway, and an Austin nonprofit is aiming to boost the number of insured Austin residents.

The annual fall open enrollment period ends Dec. 7 for new health insurance coverage that takes effect on Jan. 1. This is the only time residents can buy health insurance on the federal marketplace if they do not have health coverage through their employers, Medicare or Medicaid.

Foundation Communities Financial Center is offering free assistance to help residents navigate health insurance plans on the federal marketplace, www.healthcare.gov. Certified counselors can help the uninsured find lower medication and insurance plan costs as well as help people avoid common mistakes that affect residents’ tax refunds.

Penalties for remaining uninsured in 2016 include a fine of 2.5 percent of one’s 2016 household income or $695 per uninsured adults and $347.50 per uninsured child, whichever amount is higher, according to the federal Health Insurance Marketplace.

Members of the public may visit either Foundation Communities location at 5900 Airport Blvd. or 2600 W. Stassney Lane without an appointment. Help is available through Jan. 31. Offices are open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thu. and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat. Offices are closed for the holidays from Nov. 23-29, Dec. 21-27, and Dec. 31-Jan. 1.

Foundation Communities staffers ask residents to bring income information, including pay stubs and a social security statement; a recent tax return; details about what health coverage is offered by the resident’s employer; a list of medications; and immigration documents, if applicable.

For more information, visit www.insurecentraltexas.org or call 512-422-5395.

Help with Medicare, Medicaid


AGE of Central Texas, a nonprofit aimed at serving older adults and caregivers, will host a free seminar called “Medicare/Medicaid Updates–Insurance Options for Seniors” from 10 a.m.-noon, Nov. 14. The seminar is geared toward caregivers, and it is part of an ongoing workshop series to help family members effectively care for an older loved one.

The seminar will be held in the St. David’s Foundation Conference Room of the AGE Building, 3710 Cedar Street.

Topics will include updates on Medicare and Medicaid with experts from the Texas Legal Services Center. Participants can register by calling 512-600-9275 or visiting http://tinyurl.com/AgeNovember2015.

For more information on AGE of Central Texas, visit www.ageofcentraltx.org or call 512-451-4611.