Hospital helping residents select insurance

BROWNSVILLE —Valley Baptist Medical Center in Brownsville will be helping city residents enroll in health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act this Saturday in Brownsville.

The deadline to enroll for health care in accordance with the act is Jan. 31.

The Enroll Rio Grande Valley event is scheduled to take place in Harlingen, too, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 9 and again Jan. 16. The events will be in the East Tower Entrance.

The event, part of Valley Baptist Health System’s Path to Health initiative is a community education and outreach program that aims to raise awareness and understanding of the Affordable Care Act. As a whole, the program helps educate the public on steps they can take to obtain affordable healthcare coverage.

According Teri Retana, assistant vice President for Marketing & Communications at Valley Baptist Health System, people can enroll for health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act by visiting

Anyone needing assistance with the process, however, can be guided by a certified application counselor who will be on-site to help at the hospital.

A certified application counselor is a Valley Baptist Medical Center staff member who has received specific training on the Affordable Care Act. These certified application counselors have also received training on how to help someone enroll, using on-site computers.

“They can answer questions if brought the required documents,” Retana said.

Those interested in enrolling should bring identification documents for themselves and any family members. A social security number, proof of income and proof of residence is also needed.

According to a press release from the medical center, “Those enrolling will also need to be able to provide the names and mailing addresses for each member of the household applying for insurance, names of employers and policy numbers of current insurance plans if applicable.”

In addition to the certified application counselors, Brownsville residents will also be able to speak with representatives from the Enroll America organization, should they have any further questions.

Now that federal law requires people to have health insurance, those who qualify but fail to enroll may face a tax penalty, paying $695 or more.

“If you qualify for the affordable healthcare insurance plan, 8 out of 10 people are going to get some sort of a subsidy to help them pay,” Retana said.

“If you don’t sign up and you qualify, you could end up paying as much in penalties as you would in health insurance to cover your family for the whole year.”

If the Enroll Rio Grande Valley event times don’t coincide with an somone’s schedule, VBMC has an Affordable Care Act enrollment desk in their front lobby. Walk-ins are welcome Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Anyone wanting to make an appointment with certified application counselors at other days and times can call 1 (866) 893-8446.


People can also visit