Time is running out to get health insurance coverage for 2014 at http://HealthCare.gov – open enrollment ends on March 31. If you haven’t signed up yet, get covered today.
There are only 5 days left to get health insurance coverage for 2014 at HealthCare.gov before open enrollment ends on March 31. If you haven’t signed up yet, the President wants you to get covered today.
As the President says, “No one’s invincible. We all get sick, or get into accidents. Life happens. But you should never have to worry you’ll lose everything to medical bills. That’s why health insurance is so important.”
If you’re not covered, don’t wait any longer — sign up today.
And if you already have health insurance, tell your friends, family, and co-workers that they need to get covered, too. VisitWH.gov/GetCovered for tips on how to spread the word.
The White House Extends The Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act (ObamaCARES) Enrollment Deadline.
Federal officials confirmed Tuesday evening that all consumers who have begun to apply for coverage on HealthCare.gov, but who do not finish by Monday, will have until about mid-April to ask for an extension.
The Obama administration has decided to give extra time to Americans who say that they are unable to enroll in health plans through the federal insurance marketplace by the March 31 deadline.
Under the new rules, people will be able to qualify for an extension by checking a blue box on HealthCare.gov to indicate that they tried to enroll before the deadline. This method will rely on an honor system; the government will not try to determine whether the person is telling the truth.
The rules, which will apply to the federal exchanges operating in three dozen states, will essentially create a large loophole even as White House officials have repeatedly said that the March 31 deadline was firm. The extra time will not technically alter the deadline but will create a broad new category of people eligible for what’s known as a special enrollment period.
The change, which the administration is scheduled to announce Wednesday, is supported by consumer advocates who want as many people as possible to gain insurance under the 2010 Affordable Care Act. But it’s likely to be criticized by Republicans who oppose the law and have denounced the way the administration is implementing it.
Administration officials said the accommodation is an attempt to prepare for a possible surge of people trying to sign up in the final days before the deadline. Such a flood could leave some people unable to get through the system.
“We are . . . making sure that we will be ready to help consumers who may be in line by the deadline to complete enrollment — either online or over the phone,” said Julie Bataille, director of the office of communications for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency overseeing the federal health-care exchange.
The extra time will not be restricted, though, to people who wait until the last minute to try to sign up. Although no one will be asked why they need an extension, the idea is to help people whose applications have been held up because of the Web site’s technical problems, or who haven’t been able to get the system to calculate subsidies to help them pay for coverage.
According to a Health and Human Services official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about decisions that have not been made public, an exact time frame for this extension has not been set, and it will depend in part on how many people request it. Nor have officials decided precisely how long people will have to select a health plan after they get the extra time.
Starting in about mid-April, people will no longer be able to get extensions through HealthCare.gov. After that, consumers will be able to request one through one of the federally sponsored call centers nationwide. At that point, the grounds for an extension will become narrower, matching rules for special enrollment periods that have existed for the past few months. Those include people who have a new baby, are getting a divorce, lose a job with health insurance or had a technical problem signing up for coverage through HealthCare.gov.
Once the narrower rules take effect, people will still be trusted to tell the truth about why they need more time — a method known as “self-attestation.”
The new rules are similar to steps being taken — or contemplated — by some of the 14 states that are running their own health-insurance exchanges.
Last week, the governing board of Maryland’s exchange, which has been hampered by serious computer problems, decided to let residents complete their enrollments after the March 31 deadline, as long as they had started the process beforehand. Minnesota officials announced this week that they would do the same thing. Oregon’s governor plans to announce a similar plan this week, according to his spokeswoman, and the board of Nevada’s exchange is considering several alternatives, including a special enrollment period.
The impact of such leeway, coming in the final days of a sign-up period that began in October, remains unclear. This year’s enrollment period is the first opportunity for Americans who are unable to get affordable insurance through a job to choose whether to enroll in one of the plans offered under the 2010 law.
In recent weeks, the White House and its allies have been mounting an intense public relations campaign to motivate people to sign up. Amid signs of increasing interest, federal health officials have privately worried whether HealthCare.gov could withstand an expected last-minute enrollment surge this weekend.
Administration officials have adopted an enrollment target of 6 million Americans, forecast this winter by congressional budget analysts. The analysts had lowered their previous prediction of 7 million after problems with HealthCare.gov thwarted many people who attempted to enroll during the fall.
Until now, the March 31 deadline has been the date by which most Americans must choose a plan — or risk a government fine in the form of a tax penalty when they file their 2014 taxes next year. The fine will not apply to people who get an extension under the new rules and enroll in plans within the allotted time.
The constituency that has been most wary of extra sign-up time has been the insurance industry. Insurance firms selling plans in the new marketplace want to minimize the possibility that people might wait to get coverage until they become sick — a practice that would undermine the central idea of keeping costs in check by balancing people who are expensive to insure with those who are healthy and require little medical treatment.
On the other hand, consumer advocates say it is important to give as many people as possible a chance to obtain insurance.
“The whole point of the thing is to get people covered,” said Jon Kingsdale, a health-care consultant and former director of Massachusetts’s insurance exchange, which was the first in the country, opening several years before the federal law set up a similar national marketplace. “In the first year, there has been so much confusion, I think it’s only natural there will be people who just don’t feel as if they fully understood what the law was and what they were supposed to do and that the opportunity would close.”
The President Answers Questions About Health Care from the Quora Community
President Obama answered questions on Quora, a leading question-and-answer website, about Affordable Care Act enrollment and how the law affects young peopleacross America.
The deadline to enroll for health care coverage for this year is March 31 — only seven days from now — so if you’re not covered yet, sign up today at HealthCare.gov. And if you do have health insurance, make sure to tell your friends, family, and co-workers why they need to get covered. Visit WH.gov/GetCoveredfor tips on how to spread the word.
Read the President’s responses to Quora users’ questions below.
Q: Why has ACA enrollment accelerated so much over the past few months? What changes did the White House make to make enrollment faster and easier?
A: First of all, if you still need to sign up for health insurance, you should go to HealthCare.gov right now and sign up for coverage. You’ve got just seven days left until the March 31st deadline. It’s last call for 2014 if you want to be covered this year.
Now, it’s no secret to anyone that we had some issues with the website at launch. But that was months ago. Thanks to a team of experts who worked around the clock to get the site working back then, response times on HealthCare.gov are faster than ever. Most young people are eligible for financial help to make health insurance more affordable. And more than 5 million people have already signed up for coverage — with tens of thousands more signing up every day.
We’ve also added more call center staffers to help people enroll over the phone, and launched new search tools at localhelp.healthcare.gov where you can find in-person help with filling out your application.
Historically, we know that most people buy health insurance close to the enrollment deadline. We’re human. We procrastinate. Massachusetts, which passed a health care law in 2006 that served as a model for the Affordable Care Act, saw similar trends early on in its enrollment period. In the first month people could sign up for plans in Massachusetts, just 123 people enrolled. After the first four months, 15,560 people had enrolled. And more than 20 percent of all those who enrolled in that first year signed up in the last month.
But the broader reason that enrollment has improved these past few months is that the Affordable Care Act is working. Folks are recognizing that quality, affordable health care is available to them in the marketplace, very often with a tax credit that lowers monthly premiums and makes coverage even more affordable. For many Americans, it’s the first time they’ve been able to afford care at all.
So, one more time: If you still need to sign up for health insurance, go to HealthCare.gov right now and get yourself covered — this is the last call for 2014.
Q: How will ACA affect how young people make career and job choices? If I’m a young person, how will the ACA impact my life?
A: First and foremost, it’s last call for 2014. If you haven’t signed up for health insurance and want to be covered in 2014, you should go to HealthCare.gov right now and sign up for coverage. You’ve got just seven days left until the March 31st deadline.
The whole point of health insurance is to protect you from massive medical bills that come with illness or injury. None of us are invincible – we all get sick or get into accidents. So for young people, health insurance is about peace of mind. It gives you the freedom to try several jobs until you find the one you love, chase that new idea, or start your own business, without fear that the unexpected will derail your dreams.
Before I signed the Affordable Care Act, many young people had difficulty finding affordable health insurance as they were starting their careers. Some were able to get coverage through their employer, but those who couldn’t often went without health insurance altogether. And that’s mostly because too often plans on the individual market were prohibitively expensive, and young people with pre-existing conditions were turned down when they applied for coverage because of their health history.
Today, thanks to the health care law, young adults can stay on their parents’ health insurance until they turn 26. Young people can also shop for coverage online through the Health Insurance Marketplace. You can compare plans and benefits and enroll in a plan that fits your budget, and many young people qualify for tax credits to help make coverage even more affordable. In fact, seven in ten single young adults without insurance now may get covered for under $100 a month through the Marketplace.
The law also provides new protections and benefits that are especially important for young people. Insurance companies now have to provide free preventive care that will help you stay healthy. They have to provide contraceptive care for women at no extra cost. Insurance companies can’t deny coverage or charge you more because you’ve been sick in the past, and they can’t charge women more than men for the same coverage.
So here’s the bottom line. If you want to take a chance and start your own business, or try multiple careers before you settle down, you’re not going to have to wonder whether or not you can do that because you’re worried about maintaining insurance coverage. And that’s what this law is about: health care that’s there for you when you need it; financial protection for you and your family if you get sick; the security of knowing that when life happens, you’ll be protected.
Readout of the President’s Call with Health Care Navigators Announcing that 6 Million Americans Have Signed Up for Health Insurance
This afternoon, while traveling in Italy, President Obama convened a conference call with health care navigators and volunteers helping with enrollment efforts and announced that more than 6 million Americans have signed up for private health insurance plans through the federal and state Marketplaces since October 1. The President was joined on the call by several thousand grassroots volunteers, navigators and in-person assistors who are leading the effort to enroll millions of Americans in quality, affordable health insurance plans.
During the call, the President thanked the group for all their hard work to date and discussed the importance of building on this progress over the last four days of open enrollment. With consumers’ interest in signing up for health insurance surging – yesterday there were over 1.5 million visits to HealthCare.gov and over 430,000 calls to the call centers – the President encouraged the navigators and volunteers to redouble their efforts over the next four days and leave no stone unturned in trying to bring affordable health coverage to as many Americans as possible by the March 31 deadline. Nationwide, there more than 27,000 trained assistors in all fifty states who are helping consumers sign up in their communities. Consumers can find out how to get local in person help at this link on HealthCare.gov or through their state marketplaces.
MARCH 31, 2014
2014 open enrollment ends
If you have not signed up for health insurance by this date, you will need to wait until the next open enrollment period — and will likely have to pay a fine.
NOVEMBER 15, 2014
2015 open enrollment begins
You can search for and purchase health insurance in the Marketplace for the following year.
FEBRUARY 15, 2015
2015 open enrollment ends
If you have not signed up for health insurance by this date, you will need to wait until the next open enrollment period, and will likely have to pay a bigger fine than 2014.