Wilmington City Council Member Presents an Event to Kick-Off Health Care Insurance Outreach to the Uninsured

Wilmington City Council Member Darius Brown (D-3rd District), as part of his Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative, today hosted an enrollment kick-off event to mark the beginning of a six-month period during which uninsured citizens can select suitable health care insurance under the national Affordable Care Act. The enrollment period begins tomorrow, October 1, 2013 and runs through March 31, 2014. However, citizens must enroll by December 15 of this year in order to have coverage in place by January 1, 2014.

Today’s event at Westside Family Healthcare on East 16th Street was designed to bring to the public’s attention three local health care agencies—Westside Family Healthcare, Christiana Care Health System and Brandywine Women’s Health Associates — which will provide information, education and outreach to Wilmington citizens about available health care plans that suit their needs and fit their budget.

Also joining Council Member Brown for the kick-off event were State Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart, Delaware Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf and representatives for U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and Congressman John Carney.

The officials today offered encouragement to uninsured Delaware citizens to seek health care advice and information as needed in order to make the correct decision about a health care plan. They also thanked the three local agencies for accepting the challenge of identifying and assisting citizens through the enrollment process.

The Affordable Care Act requires that anyone who isn’t currently enrolled in a private insurance plan, Medicaid or Medicare must have health insurance in 2014 or face a financial penalty. Open enrollment in Delaware’s health insurance marketplace ends March 31, 2014. Those most affected by the new mandate are those who are self-employed, those whose employers do not offer health insurance, those who can’t afford health care, are unemployed or are between jobs, and those with health problems that have prevented them from obtaining insurance.

The Federal government has a website — www.HealthCare.gov — as does the State of Delaware — www.ChooseHealthDE.com — that offer citizens information about newly-established health insurance marketplace exchanges and subsidies or tax credits that may be available to assist citizens in purchasing care. Citizens who fail to obtain health care insurance are subject to a $95 penalty on their taxes beginning in 2015 for the 2014 tax year. The penalty increases each year.

After today’s event, Council Member Brown joined Westside Family Healthcare staff in walking through Eastside neighborhoods to talk to citizens about the health care enrollment period.

By the numbers…uninsured Delawareans who are eligible for coverage through the Marketplace:

  • 71,957 (10%) are uninsured and eligible
  • 52,032 (72%) have a full-time worker in the family
  • 29,120 (40%) are 19-34 years old
  • 42,147 (59%) are White
  • 17,891 (25%) are African American
  • 8,627 (12%) are Latino/Hispanic
  • 1,329 (2%) are Asian American or Pacific Islander
  • 43,587 (61%) are male

61,846 (86%) of Delaware’s uninsured and eligible population may qualify for lower costs on coverage in the Marketplace, including through Medicaid.