Obamacare Deadline Draws Closer; Over Five Million Enrol

Healthcare Training Resource
March 24, 2014 — 1,574 views  
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The enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act closes on March 31. With just about ten days left, the pace of people enrolling has picked up, with over five million now having signed up for insurance plans as part of the Act. Authorities say 800,000 people have opted for plans on both the federal and state exchanges so far this month. This new enrollment data shows that the plan is inching towards the six million target set for end of March.

In February, 950,000 people had opted for insurance schemes, with numbers actually decreasing by 18 per cent from January, when over 1.1 million people had enrolled. According to authorities, the pace will pick up as the last date approaches, because people would have to pay a penalty of $95 or one per cent of their income, whichever figure is greater, if they don’t opt for a healthcare plan. Once a citizen registers by March 31, his or her coverage will start from May 1 this year.

States thinking differently

Though the Obama administration is insistent on sticking to its deadline, many states are trying to see if they can offer additional time for Americans to still sign up after March 31. For instance, in Maryland, a provision has been made for those who start the process before March 31 and somehow couldn’t complete sign-in procedure, to do so after March 31. Another state, Nevada, is also considering a grace time of 60 days.

In the state of Washington, officials said customers who can’t enrol by March 31 because of technical errors can get a review of their applications. States such as Oregon, Massachusetts and Maryland have also experienced technical glitches during the enrolment period. However, the Obama government has rejected all these announcements and re-iterated that the deadline is March 31.

Meanwhile, some states are giving the enrolment program one last thrust, by extending office hours at their respective exchanges. They have also taken up widespread ad campaigns in movie halls, apart from regular television and radio ads. There have also been texting campaigns on mobile devices.

In case you miss the March-31 deadline

If a citizen is going through life-altering events such as a wedding, job loss, a divorce, an adoption or is going into labor, that individual can get an extension, but has to enrol in a health scheme within 60 days of that life-altering event. If you don’t have any such event listed, you would need to wait till the next enrolment timeframe, which starts on November 15 this year and continues till February 15 of next year.

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