So far, more than 54,000 Missourians have chosen health plans through the marketplace, but thousands more have yet to purchase insurance.  The deadline to get coverage before the income tax filing deadline is March 31.

To help educate and enroll, Mercy Hospital Springfield has expanded hours and enrollment sessions.  The health system also wants to help dispel myths, particularly about high insurance costs, that may be deterring some people from signing up for coverage before the 2014 enrollment period ends.

Counselors at Mercy, a grantee of the Missouri Foundation for Health, say many people are pleasantly surprised to find they qualify for financial help that makes their coverage costs affordable for them.

In fact, a majority of Missourians – 83 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – who have signed up for Marketplace plans have received financial assistance. Yet despite this high number, a recent Enroll America Survey indicated that nationally, more than two-thirds of uninsured Americans are not aware of potential savings and thus, have not visited the online Marketplace.

Misconceptions like this only further underscore continued information gaps that Mercy hopes to address during a statewide enrollment blitz on Saturday, March 8. Certified Application Counselors will be available at the following times and locations:

  • Springfield: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Library Station (2535 N. Kansas Expressway), Library Center (4653 S. Campbell Ave.) and Midtown Carnegie Branch Library (397 E. Central St.).
  • Springfield:  Educational event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Central Assembly of God (1301 Boonville Ave.)
  • Pineville: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Pineville Library (808 Bailey Rd.)
  • Lamar: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Barton County Library (300 W. 10th St.)
  • Neosho: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Neosho/Newton County Library (201 W. Spring St.)
  • Carthage: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Carthage Library (612 S. Garrison Ave.)
  • Joplin: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Joplin Library (300 S. Main St.)

“Mercy’s activities give uninsured Missourians an important opportunity to get accurate information about Marketplace health plans before the enrollment period ends,” said Ryan Barker, vice president of Health Policy at Missouri Foundation for Health, which launched Cover Missouri last August.  “We encourage everyone statewide to take full advantage of free assistance and information sessions this month — and an active role in meeting their health care needs.”

For more information about extended hours and attending these sessions, call Mercy at 1-855-900-4140.  Appointments for other days can also be made by contacting this number. 

Mercy’s activities support the Cover Missouri Coalition’s broader efforts to reduce the state’s uninsured rate to less than five percent in five years.